Senate withdraws report acquitting MTN of forex scam
4 August 2017
The Senate has withdrawn a report that largely exonerated South African telecoms giant, MTN, of accusations of illegally repatriating $14 billion and rebuked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for regulatory failures.
The report, presented to the Senate on Thursday, was almost immediately sent back for further work because it did not capture possible infractions by all stakeholders, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
The upper legislative chamber agreed in September to investigate whether Africa’s biggest telecoms firm unlawfully repatriated $13.92 billion from Nigeria – its most lucrative market which generates a third of its revenue – between 2006 and 2016.
MTN, which has denied any wrongdoing, could not immediately be reached for comment.
The crux of the allegation is that MTN did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within a 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law, making the repatriation of returns on the investments illegal.
The Senate formed a committee to investigate the allegations against the South African company, the CBN and commercial banks such as Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.
The committee’s report did not recommend any punitive measures against MTN.
Instead, the report rebuked the CBN for its failure to monitor fund transfers to and from the country, calling its oversight of banks “inadequate.”