Group seeks investigation of MTN, Minister over money laundering

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A coalition, ‎the Civil Society Network Against Corruption‎, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to commence investigation into an alleged money laundering against the Minister of Trade and Investment,‎ Okechukwu Enelamah, and telecommunication service provider, MTN.

National Daily gathered that in a petition forwarded to the anti-graft agency and signed by the group’s Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, it is demanding the prosecution of banks and individual found to have participated directly or indirectly in the alleged crimes.

CSNAC said it had earlier forwarded a petition against MTN to the EFCC, titled INVESTIGATION INTO THE ACTIVITIES OF MTN NIGERIA ON ALLEGED ECONOMIC FRAUD & NON REMITTANCE OF ACCURATE TAXES, dated November 10, 2015, adding: “We hereby use this petition to serve as a reminder and call to action on this issue and others raised in the previous petition.

“CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding that a full scale investigation be launched into the activities of MTN in view of this weighty money laundering allegations, as well as the prosecution of banks and individual found to have participated directly or indirectly in this alleged crimes.”

Recall that last month, Senator Dino Melaye had accused MTN of connivance with “some influential and unpatriotic Nigerians” to illegally repatriate the money out of Nigeria between 2006 and 2016, in violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act.

Melaye stated that MTN “floated and incorporated offshore SPVs (special purpose vehicles) in Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island” and the Central Bank of Nigeria was also not notified of the capital flight within 48 hours as required by regulations.

He further stated that in breach of Nigerian laws, Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and Diamond issued $4.87 billion, $5.72 billion, $2.98 billion and $0.35 billion to MTN for repatriation ‘illegally and this is not healthy for a country that is struggling respectively to come out of its economic meltdown’.

Thus, this scenario facilitated the Senate mandating its committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out a holistic Investigation into the matter and report back. The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, described the allegations as weighty, but no specific time frame for the committee headed by Rafiu Ibrahim to submit a report.”

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