Ex­on­er­at­ing re­port on MTN is with­drawn

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT -

NIGE­RIA’S Se­nate has with­drawn a re­port that largely ex­on­er­ated tele­coms gi­ant MTN of ac­cu­sa­tions of il­le­gally repa­tri­at­ing $14 bil­lion (R181.58bn) and re­buked the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria (CBN) for reg­u­la­tory fail­ures. The re­port, pre­sented to the Se­nate last week, was al­most im­me­di­ately sent back for fur­ther work, be­cause it did not cap­ture pos­si­ble in­frac­tions by all stake­hold­ers, two sources fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said. Par­lia­ment’s up­per house agreed last Septem­ber to in­ves­ti­gate whether Africa’s big­gest tele­coms firm un­law­fully repa­tri­ated $13.92bn from Nige­ria – its most lu­cra­tive mar­ket, which gen­er­ates a third of its rev­enue – be­tween 2006 and last year. MTN, which has de­nied any wrong­do­ing, could not im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment. The crux of the al­le­ga­tion was that MTN did not ob­tain cer­tifi­cates declar­ing it had in­vested for­eign cur­rency in Nige­ria within a 24-hour dead­line stip­u­lated in a 1995 law, mak­ing the repa­tri­a­tion of re­turns on the in­vest­ments il­le­gal. The Se­nate formed a com­mit­tee to in­ves­ti­gate the al­le­ga­tions against MTN, CBN and com­mer­cial lenders such as Nige­ria’s Stan­bic IBTC Bank. The com­mit­tee’s re­port did not rec­om­mend any puni­tive mea­sures against MTN. It re­buked the CBN for its fail­ure to mon­i­tor fund trans­fers to and from the coun­try. – Reuters

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