Senate Accuses MTN, Nigerian Minister of Illegally Repatriating $12bn

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Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja

The Senate on Thursday accused MTN Nigeria of moving of $12 billion out of the Nigerian economy in conspiracy with an unnamed minister and other fraudulent Nigerians.

The chamber alleged that the fraud was facilitated by four commercial banks over a period of 10 years.
Raising a point of order at the commencement of yesterday’s plenary, Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West), cited Order 42 in Senate’s Standing Orders, which allows him to seek the consent of the parliament to formally move a motion on the claim the next legislative day.

The senator who said upon presentation of the motion on Tuesday, he would provide incontrovertible evidence of the transaction, added that the amount is almost half of the nation’s external reserves.

He said: “Mr. President, I seek the indulgence of this house to move that after this short presentation, this matter be allowed to be taken on the next legislative day. My respected colleagues, MTN Nigeria paid a sum of $284.9 million on February 6, 2001 to purchase their licence of operations in this country.

“l want to say with facts which by the grace of God, I will make available on the next legislative day, if this motion is allowed, to all senators to see evidence that between 2006 and 2016 through four Nigerian banks and indeed a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and some other fraudulent Nigerians. MTN has moved over $12 billion out of Nigeria and that is about half of our external reserves.

“If I get the nod of the Senate, I will want to bring a substantive motion on Tuesday, the next legislative day, with substantiated facts to buttress this position.”

After securing the Senate’s nod, Senate President, Bukola Saraki scheduled the motion for Tuesday next week.
“Distinguished colleagues, according to our rules in Order 42, Senator Dino Melaye raised this issue and he needs to get the leave of the Senate to bring it on the next legislative day,” Saraki said.