Melaye accuses minister of aiding MTN to transfer $13.9bn
The Senate on Tuesday began a probe into the allegation that the MTN Nigeria had repatriated $13.9bn from Nigeria to other countries between 2006 and now.
A member of the Senate representing Kogi-West Senatorial District, Dino Melaye, while moving a motion based on the ‘Unscrupulous Violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act’, alleged that MTN illegally repatriated the amount out of the country through its bankers.
The bankers, according to him, are Stanbic IBTC, which allegedly helped the firm to transfer $4.87bn; Standard Chartered Bank, $5.72bn; Citi Bank, $2.98bn; and Diamond Bank, $0.35bn.
The lawmaker stated that he had documentary evidences to back his claims, some of which he brought to the floor of the chamber and said would be made available for investigation.
He said, “The Senate observes that MTN did not request for the Certificate of Capital Importation from its bankers, Standard Chartered Bank, within the regulatory period of 24 hours of the inflow. The Senate observes also that the CBN was not notified of this inflow by Standard Chartered Bank within 48 hours of receipt and conversion of the proceeds to naira as required by regulation.
“It further observes that the sum of $117,683,987bn was also brought in by MTN between 2001 and 2003 in three different tranches. It is concerned that since inception, MTN had sought the collaboration of influential and unpatriotic Nigerians to assist them in looting our external reserves.”
The Nigerians, Melaye added, included a serving minister, who he said MTN allegedly used in moving $13.92bn out of Nigeria, which was over 50 per cent of the country’s external reserves, to floated and incorporated offshore Special Purpose Vehicles in the Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island.
The senator listed the names of the SPVs, their promoters/shareholders and their share loan between MTN South Africa as: Cel Telephone Investment Limited, Port Louis, Mauritius; Dr. Pascal Dozie and Dr. Okechuckwu Elenemah; $20,749,532; Celtel funded shares SPV (which was renamed NISPV Limited in 2008), Port Louis, Mauritius; Dr. Pascal Dozie, Ahmed Dasuki, Gbenga Oyebode, Babatunde Folawiyo and Dr. Okechukwu Elenemah, $2,019,232.
Others are Mobile Communication Investment Limited, Port Louis, Mauritius; Mohammed Sanni Bello; $3,862,985; Mobile Communication Holdings, Port Louis, Mauritius; Mohammed Sanni Bello; $3,454,102; Hermitage Overseas Corporation Limited; Victor Odili; $10,273,986; SASPV Limited and Ahmed Dasuki, $10,058,991.
The list also includes NCell Limited, Geneva Water Front Drive, British Virgin Island; Gbenga Oyebode, $4,512,593; Universal Communication Limited, Barkly House, George Town, Cayman Island; and Babatunde Folawiyo, $5,534,941.
The President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, noted that the allegations raised by Melaye were serious and required thorough investigation as the issues could not be ignored.
The lawmakers subsequently voted that the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions should carry out “a holistic investigation” into the matter and report back to the Senate.
The committee was given two weeks to carry out the task.
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