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Friday, 6 October 2017

TSTV:We asked EFCC about CEO and here's what they told us


TSTV CEO Bright Echefu

Naijasimple asked EFCC about allegations of corruption levelled against TSTV CEO, Bright Echefu. Here's how it all went.

With all of the media attention that has come the way of TSTV in recent times, it is easy to miss the part where CEO of the cable TV company, Bright Echefu, was accused of corruption.
As published on the website of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), “on Thursday, January 21, 2016 the anti-graft commission arraigned one Bright Echefu before Justice S.C Amadi of the State High Court, Port Harcourt, Rivers on a one-count charge bordering on Issuance of dud cheque and obtaining by false pretense”.
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The story also added that; “the accused allegedly received computer accessories, laptops and stationeries which were delivered to his (suspect) business premises at Touchville Hotel, Ada George Road, Port Harcourt by the victim.
“After the supply, the suspect issued a post dated UBA cheque of One Million, One Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Five Hundred Naira (N1, 165, 500. 00), with a further agreement to pay the  balance of One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira (N150, 000) on a latter date. But the cheque was returned unpaid due to insufficient funds on the suspect’s account. All efforts made to recover the money by the victim, were futile”.

The defendant (Bright Echefu) was subsequently remanded in prison pending the hearing of his bail application.
Look-alikes
Bright Echefu.
Remember the name.
The man who stood beside minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, during the grand launch of TSTV on October 1, 2017, is also called Bright Echefu.

Was this Bright Echefu of TSTV the same dude who issued a dud (pun not intended at all) cheque and was arrested and charged back in 2016? Or was this just another person in another part of the planet who bears the same first and last names as the TSTV CEO? After all, in Nigeria, thousands of people bear the same first and last names.
It can’t be the same guy, can it? Why do they have this uncanny resemblance about them?
Naijasimple was confronted with a barrage of these questions and much more all week long. To provide answers, we went digging as we normally do around here. Searching for doppelgangers from thin air isn't exactly our thing, but we promised to try.
Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu
EFCC boss and the search for Samin
First off, we rang the mobile of acting EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu and shared all of the details of the 2016 saga with him.
Was this Bright Echefu who was arraigned by his commission last year, the same fella who runs TSTV?
“Give me a minute…I’d have to check and get back to you on this”, said Magu.
However, as we went back and forth over the phone, Magu apparently had a change of mind.
“Why don’t you go to the court where he was arraigned? Is the court in Lagos?”
“No sir, the court is not in Lagos”, we thundered from the other end of the line, not in the least bit exasperated. “The court is in Rivers State…Port Harcourt”.

“Hmmm”, Magu responded. “Ok, go to my office in Lagos and ask for Samin. Tell him I said he should confirm this for you, Ok?”
“Sammy?”
“Samin…he’s my media officer in Lagos. Samin…S…A…M…I…N,” Magu made sure to spell out the name for us.
As temperatures in the Lagos area hovered near the 32 degree Celsius mark, we pulled the car out of a packed driveway on Stella Ogunleye street in Lekki, Lagos and joined the traffic heading for Ikoyi.
The EFCC’s Lagos office is perched on Awolowo way in Ikoyi.
We first showed up at the wrong EFCC address. It’s the EFCC office alright, tucked somewhere off Ribadu drive in rustic Ikoyi, but it wasn’t the one Magu had in mind. Thankfully, the police officers who did the rounds as sentry personnel, were kind enough to explain how we could get to the other EFCC address on Awolowo way.

We grabbed murderous ice cold bottles of Coca Cola along the way, as the sun blazed through journalistic skulls.
After inquiring from a couple of pedestrians, we found the right EFCC address, just beside the imposing Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) structure on Awolowo way, and made for the reception.
After getting frisked with our cellphones taken off us, we filed through the cordon of stern looking police officers with their guns drawn by default, and ended up at another reception hall.
“Hello officer, we are looking for Samin…S….A…M….I…N…..the….the….EFCC Chairman…asked that we should see….see….him”.
“Ok, sign here…the next left turn …second door by your right…knock on that….”
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Samin wasn’t in his office when we showed up, but his colleagues kept assuring that he was within the premises and we should wait.
To wait for Samin, we were beckoned into an adjoining office where the television is permanently tuned to NTA. As we would find out, all the TV sets in the EFCC zone are permanently glued to NTA.
We didn’t ask why.
Samin appears
This writer had dozed off for what seemed an eternity, when the door blazed open. A thickset, bald man draped in bespoke suit, peered inside. He looked imposing, stern and mild mannered all at once. He was Samin.
Samin looked like he’s not missed a gym session in years.
Samin Amaddin is Head, Public Affairs at the Lagos Zone of the EFCC. He led us into his sparsely furnished office; where shelves overflowed with all sorts of anti-graft books and materials.
We delved into the subject matter without delay.


Samin often listened with a furrowed brow and a knowing expression.
This writer reeled out the details of the 2016 case by rote. “Is he the same Bright Echefu?”
It was the one million dollar question the world had been asking. The elephant in the room.
Samin grabbed his sleek gadget and together we ran several searches that revolved around “Bright Echefu”, comparing photographs from different era and what life has been like for the Echefus.
“Hmmmm…he looks the same person”, Samin said at one point and minutes later, he would punctuate his searches and introspection with “hmmmm, he doesn’t look like the same person…he is the same person…he is not….” And on and on he went.
It was an EFCC room full of confusion. For once, photo evidence would prove painfully inadequate in cracking a case. The ‘Bright Echefus’ of this world take very little pictures and are camera shy, it appeared, because we kept happening on the same photos as we went back and forth.
The EFCC detectives and the journalists were confused. We couldn’t crack this case, hard as we tried.
An hour later, we all gave up. It was the wisest thing to do at the time.

“I’ll get back to you on this tomorrow. I promise. Or just call me same time tomorrow”, Samin assured.
Sources at the EFCC told Naijasimple that detectives worked the phones and pored through a trove of case files after we exited the building.
The next day, at the Ikeja City Mall, over crispy chicken and chips, two EFCC agents went through several documents with us. The verdict stared us in the face:
The Bright Echefu who was arraigned by the agency last year may have looked like the dude who launched a new cable TV company that seeks to rival DSTV, but he wasn’t the same person, EFCC operatives announced.
Still not satisfied, we called Samin.
“He’s not the same person from what we have found so far….but…..I called our Port Harcourt agents and they told me that the Echefu of TSTV is more literate than the other one”.
We also asked Samin what has become of the dud cheque case. Did that Bright Echefu ever serve jail term? Was he found guilty or set free?

It’s difficult to say at this point because this case was in Port Harcourt. If it were in Lagos, we would have immediately pulled out documents to hand you a definitive answer. It looks like after he was arraigned, the plaintiff and defendant asked to settle out of court. That may have been what happened”, Samin conjectured.
Samin also assured Naijasimple that his team will keep digging.
As we joined the bedlam out of the mall, we couldn’t help but groan about what the Bright Echefus had just put us through.
What’s in a name? Oh well, ask the Echefus.
TSTV boss
TSTV CEO Bright Echefu hails from Obowo in Imo State.
He is the MD/CEO of Bricke and Athens limited--owners of AHTV-Heath Television and Telcom Satellites TV (TSTV).
Echefu has been MD/CEO of these companies since November 2014.
He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, before leaving the country’s shores to pursue further studies abroad.

Echefu also serves as the Chairman of Briechberg Investment Limited, owners of Bright FM.
He is also on the board of Bright Joy Multiventures limited.
His skills are listed as Strategic Planning Research, Nonprofits Public Speaking, Program Management and Fundraising Program Development.
Echefu is also newlywed.

Correspondence to the TSTV office weren’t replied before press time.

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