MTN, banks, minister face a grilling

Nigerian senators have invited South Africa’s MTN, Nigeria’s trade minister and four lenders to appear before them on October 20 for an investigation hearing on an allegation that MTN illegally moved $14-billion out of Nigeria.

The Nigerian upper house last month agreed to investigate whether Africa’s biggest telecoms group MTN wrongly transferred the money out of Nigeria since 2006.

The allegations first appeared in a motion proposed by Senator Dino Melaye to launch an investigation as Nigeria struggles with its first recession in a generation and chronic foreign currency shortages due to a slump in oil prices.

MTN and Nigerian Trade Minister Okechukwu Elenemah have denied wrongdoing.

The four lenders invited to appear before the senate committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions were Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank , Citibank and Diamond Bank, committee chairman, Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim said yesterday.

The senate’s move comes after MTN agreed to a reduced fine of about R15.6-billion for not disconnecting users of unregistered sim cards.

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