BREAKING: Trouble Looms For MTN Nigeria Over Unlawful Profit Repatriation
Africa’s mobile telecommunication giant, MTN may be heading into more trouble with the authorities in Nigeria.
This is coming barely a year after the telecom operator was fined $5.2 billion by the Nigerian government for failing to disconnect unregistered sim cards.
You see, MTN was accused in 2016 of unlawfully repatriating $14 billion.
The company was specifically accused of failing to obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within a 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law, and so the repatriation of returns on those investments was illegal.
The allegation was against MTN, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
So, the Senate formed a committee to investigate the allegations.
The committee had submitted its report on Thursday and story reaching us say, the Senate had rejected it.
According to Reuters, who saw the report, the report had apparently exonerated MTN and only rebuked the CBN for regulatory failures.
But the Senate would have none of that.
The law makers were said to have been angered by the report and almost immediately sent it back for further work because it did not capture possible infractions by all stakeholders, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke to Reuters.
However, MTN, which has since denied any wrongdoing, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The committee's report was said to have given no recommendations for punishment against MTN.
Instead, the report rebuked CBN for its failure to monitor fund transfers to and from the country, calling CBN's oversight of banks "inadequate."
The report recommended that the Senate "condemn the CBN for failing in its duty" to address problems with its monitoring of foreign exchange transfers.
"The CBN's duty is to correct and if needed sanction banks and their customers for any wrongdoing, which it never did," said the report, adding that "the central bank never testified to the committee that there were any infractions".
"By never applying
sanctions, the CBN had lent credence to the banks' argument that they were not
breaking any rules by transferring foreign currency," the report said.
A CBN spokesman was not immediately available for comment.