Senate president Bukola Saraki has said that the alleged $13.9 billion money laundering by Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) is enough to pull Nigeria out of recession, Vanguard reports.
Saraki disclosed this while opening the legislative hearing on the alleged repatriation of the funds by MTN, the nation’s giant telecoms provider, in connivance with some Nigerian banks and individuals.
Senate president Bukola Saraki has said that the alleged $13.9 billion money laundering by MTN is enough to pull Nigeria out of recession.
The investigative hearing is being conducted by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.
Represented by the Majority Whip of the Senate, Olusola Adeyeye, Saraki said the amount involved was mind blowing.
He said: “The amount of money involved in the alleged repatriation by MTN could pull Nigeria out of recession.
“We are duty bound to make sure that such breach of constitutional processes are investigated; be assured that this is not witch-hunt but a fact finding exercise.
“This 8th senate has devoted a lot of attention on legislations that will improve the business environment.
“This hearing goes to show this commitment and so we expect maximum cooperation from the regulatory authorities; failure to do so will mean culpability.
“We intend to get to the bottom of this and get the facts and nothing but the fact.
“At the end of this, based on the calibre of people that are here, Nigerians will get to know the truth about what transpired.”
However, Saraki urged the committee to be thorough in their investigation.
In his opening remark, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim, said that the investigation was not a witch-hunt but an avenue to block loopholes and revenue l*akages.
He berated the individuals who did not honour the invitation of the Senate, stressing that they would be handled appropriately.
The Nigerian Senate, had some months ago adopted a motion by Senator Dino Melaye, who alleged that MTN had carried out an illegal transfer of $13.92 billion, adding that a number of multinational companies and individuals were engaged in repatriation of funds.
Amongst those accused is Okechukwu Enelamah, Nigeria’s minister for industry, trade and investment.
While MTN denied the allegation, Enelamah’s office issued a statement saying the accusations were “without merit and baseless”.
“At no time was Dr. Enelamah in a position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria, and at no time did Dr. Enelamah transfer any funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria,” the statement added.
The decision by the Senate to pursue the allegations against MTN represents another setback for MTN in its biggest market.
The Senate’s move comes just three months after the South African firm agreed to pay a fine of 330 billion naira ($1.02 billion) to end a dispute over unregistered SIM cards.