South African telecoms giant, MTN, on Wednesday denied the allegation that it illegally repatriated 13.92 billion dollars from Nigeria, saying the claim was without merit.
“The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit,” MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Ferdi Moolman, said in a statement in Johannesburg.
Nigeria’s Senate agreed on Tuesday to investigate the allegation that MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, illegally transferred the money out of Nigeria.
Senator Dino Melaye, who raised the motion, said the alleged illegal repatriation was allegedly facilitated by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Elenemah and involved Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and Diamond Bank.
The allegation threatens to raise tensions between Nigeria and MTN just three months after the South African firm agreed to pay a reduced fine of N330 billion in a settlement over the hefty sanction it attracted over unregistered SIM cards. The settlement followed interventions by Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Jacob Zuma .
The company had threatened to pull out of Nigeria during the dispute over unregistered SIM cards.
MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria, which accounts for about one third of the company’s revenues.
Reuters reports that MTN shares fell more than three per cent on Tuesday, but opened one per cent firmer on Wednesday.