Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator MTN on Monday reiterated its position on allegations that it improperly repatriated $14 billion out of Nigeria and describe it as unfounded and without merit. By Staff Writer
MTN said in a statement that its Nigerian operation continues to refute the allegations that it had improperly repatriated funds from Nigeria.
MTN issued a SENS announcement on 28 September 2016 in which MTN Nigeria’s CEO Ferdi Moolman refuted allegations made on the floor of the Senate that MTN Nigeria had improperly repatriated funds from Nigeria. Ferdi Moolman said that “The allegations made against MTN Nigeria are completely unfounded and without any merit.”
The Johannesburg-based company said in the latest development on this matter, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has through the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance and other Financial Institutions commenced an investigation into the alleged “unscrupulous violation” of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act.
MTN Nigeria, four commercial banks, certain MTN Nigeria directors and shareholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria and others appeared before the Senate on 20 October 2016 at the outset of this investigation.
The allegations are that $13.97 billion was repatriated illegally by MTN Nigeria through its bankers. The mobile phone operator said MTN Nigeria and its bankers are cooperating with the investigation with a view to resolving the matter as expeditiously as possible.
“In the interim the CBN has instructed the banks to suspend any remittance of dividends until further notice,” the telco said.
The company added that MTN Nigeria is committed to the payment of the N330bn fine related to the late disconnection of ‘improperly registered’ SIMS and as such has not declared a dividend since April 2015 and MTN Nigeria has no intention to make any dividend payments over the next six months.
“MTN Nigeria continues to refute the allegations that MTN Nigeria had improperly repatriated funds from Nigeria,” the company said.
“Consequently MTN Nigeria will strongly defend any action that would be prejudicial to its interest.”