MTN is currently under investigation by the Nigerian Senate for allegedly transferring $13.9 billion dollars out of the country illegally. This accusation was made by Senator Dino Melaye last month, and the investigation officially commenced on Thursday – but that’s not what this post is about. Well, not exactly.
We’re here today to talk about Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s statement at yesterday’s investigative hearing. In his words, “The amount of money involved in the alleged repatriation by MTN could pull Nigeria out of recession. We are duty bound to make sure that such breach of constitutional processes are investigated; be assured that this is not witch-hunt but a fact-finding exercise.”
Called it! It looks, smells, feels, and now speaks like a
shakedown fact-finding exercise. The Chairman of the Investigative Committee (don’t you just love Nigerians and their Committees), Rabiu Ibrahim created a Twitter thread detailing what went on at the session. This gem caught my eye –
No ill feelings. But it's incumbent upon us to ensure that such diabolical breach of constitutional process is brought to book. #MTNforex
— Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim (@rafiuibrahim) October 20, 2016
For some reason, “diabolical breach” puts the image of top MTN officials clad in white wrappers and holding calabashes in my head (obviously, I watch too many Yoruba movies). But honestly, what’s with all the grammar?
Of course, the great people of Twitter didn’t disappoint.
I would counter that it's incumbent upon you to explain what "illegally repatriated" means. It's MTN's money isn't it??
— King Arthur (@arthuranijahobi) October 21, 2016
MTN Nigeria has, of course, denied these allegations. According to the company, all their activities have been legal, and they arranged for audits to make sure there was enough capital available with financial statements for the years in question. In CEO Ferdi Moolman‘s words, “The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit.”
In the midst of all this, MTN has suffered significant loss, with share prices falling 2.3% to $7.7 – its lowest since July 2010. This investigation is one more episode in the series of unfortunate events that have plagued MTN in Nigeria.
We applaud our able senators for “working round the clock” to arrest economic situations. Too bad others don’t feel the same way.