Senator Bola Tinubu
Yemi Akinsuyi in Abuja
MTN Nigeria Ltd has recanted the ownership of two lines reportedly used by chieftains of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to communicate with the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami.
MTN has been under investigation following a petition by former Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola that the telecommunications giant had altered the call logs detailing the interaction between Salami and some ACN chieftains when he presided over election petitions concerning candidates of the party between 2009 and 2010.
THISDAY learnt that MTN, which had hitherto denied the ownership of a line said to belong to former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, which was reportedly used to interact with Salami, admitted to the police on Tuesday that the former governor owned the line.
Two MTN officials—Ms. Rotimi Oghenerume and Mr. Rotimi Odusola— accompanied by a lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oguneso from Ibrahim Abdullahi and Co., were at the Police Force headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday as part of the ongoing investigation into the petition that the company perverted the course of justice by doctoring Salami’s call data records, which it submitted to the National Judicial Council (NJC).
They told detectives attached to the Special Task Force (STF) set up by the Inspector-General of Police (IG) that the phone number which they earlier claimed belonged to one "Tunde Folawiyo, Governor of Lagos State" belonged to Tinubu.
The second number identified as one of Salami’s callers and his friend, Tunji Ijaya, was also said to belong to one Gbadegesin Ademola, identified as Tinubu’s personal assistant.
The telecom officials, who were later released on bail, were said to have had a hard time explaining to the investigators why the numbers were registered in the names of persons other than the real users, which was seen as an attempt by the company to cover up the identity of the real subscribers.
The investigators had earlier been told by MTN officials that the line attributed to Tinubu was owned by one Abdusalam Rashed.
The STF team, according to sources, had obtained a court order compelling MTN to produce all the documents used in registering the phone lines of several persons fingered in the call logs saga.
Odusola, who testified before the NJC and is also facing allegations of perjury for giving false evidence in his affidavit before the court, admitted that the call logs were provided to the Area ‘G’ Police Command by his company.
Odusola, who had claimed in his statement on oath that the MTN system could not store more than three months in call records, was confronted with call data records provided by his company which spanned five months, prompting him to plead that the situation could only be explained by the technical officials of the company.
The police, THISDAY gathered, have now asked MTN to produce the documents (driver’s licence, utility bills, crossed cheques and passport photographs) it collected from the supposed owners of the two controversial lines prior to registering them on the telecoms company’s post-paid platform.
Also, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reportedly been served with a court order to release the biometric data of the owners of the two lines.