MTN Nigeria has told Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, that circumstances compelled it to move funds without observing the law.
The South African telecommunication firm disclosed this at the commencement of investigative hearing into the alleged illegal repatriation of $13.9 billion out of the country.
The Senate had on September 27, 2016, alleged that MTN connived with the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks to exploit the porous Nigerian financial system to move the money out of the country without the required authorisation.
Often for various reasons (such as not having all the required documentation for instance), it is not possible to issue a CCI within 24 hours.
The senator representing Kogi West Federal Constituency,Dino Melaye of the Upper Legislative Chamber had alleged that MTN smartly beat Nigeria’s financial regulatory laws by failing to obtain a Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI) as authorised by CBN Financial and Miscellaneous Act within 24 hours between 2006 and 2016 before moving the money out of the country.
Speaking on CCIs issuance in the matter of alleged repatriation of funds out of Nigeria, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said no dividends were declared or paid until the CCIs were issued and finalised.
In a statement issued by MTN, Moolman added that the company only requested for CCIs for foreign capital that was imported into Nigeria.
“Often for various reasons (such as not having all the required documentation for instance), it is not possible to issue a CCI within 24 hours, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Forex Manual contemplates such situations by asking that the banks refer to the CBN for approval,” he said.
He explained that most of the monies moved out of the country were for importation of necessary equipment for the country’s economy.
He said MTN was responsible for over 3.4 percent of the country’s GDP, but lamented that the company faced difficult times in the past but was able to pull through, and currently employing over 500,000 people, directly and indirectly.
The telecommunication firm has denied the allegation, describing it as “completely unfounded and without any merit.”