MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)
MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)

The Nigerian Senate exonerated MTN Nigeria for alleged repatriation of $13.6 billion between 2006 and 2016 it did not receive proofs of collusion to contravene the foreign exchange laws.

According to a report by ThisDay, the Senate did not indict MTN Nigeria on grounds that while there was evidence of massive capital outflow, it did not receive proofs of collusion to contravene the foreign exchange laws.

This followed the adoption of the report of its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions on alleged repatriation of $13.6 billion between 2006 and 2016 by MTN Communications translating to about $1 billion annually.

“No doubt there is a disturbing evidence of foreign exchange haemorrhage in Nigeria especially in the period of recession. MTN, for instance, repatriated over $1.3 billion annually since 2006 or $13.92 billion between 2006 and 2016. Just for one company, the phenomenon constitutes a huge outflow that could pose challenges for foreign exchange and national monetary stability,” the report said.

This judgement comes after the Nigerian Senate on July withdrew a statement that largely exonerated Africa’s biggest mobile phone giant MTN of accusations of illegally repatriating $14 billion. 

The report, presented to the Nigerian Senate was almost immediately sent back for further work because it did not capture possible infractions by all stakeholders, Reuters news agency reported at the time and citing two people familiar with the matter said.

Reuters reported that senators did not understand why the report largely condemned the CBN while MTN and named commercial banks which transferred money overseas were barely reprimanded, said one of the people familiar with the investigation.

The report has now been “withdrawn for consultations and further legislative work”, said the other person with knowledge of the investigation.

Last June, MTN and the Federal Government of Nigeria reached an agreement over a $3.9 billion fine imposed by the country’s regulator.

MTN informed investors that the dispute has been resolved with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).

MTN Nigeria agreed to pay an equivalent of R23.9 billion (Naira 330 billion over three years or $1.671 billion) at the official exchange rate or $902 million (R13.5 billion) at the Lagos Parallel Market Rate.

The mobile phone operator said the R3.8 billion (Naira 50 billion) paid in good faith and without prejudice by MTN Nigeria on 24 February 2016 forms part of the monetary component of the settlement leaving a balance of Naira 280 billion outstanding.

The Naira 260 billion outstanding will be paid off as follows – Naira 30 billion on 8 July 2016, Naira 30 billion on 31 March 2017, Naira 55 billion on 31 March 2018, Naira 55 billion on 31 December 2018, Naira 55 billion on 31 March 2019 and Naira 55 billion on 31 May 2019.

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