The Nigerian Senate has queried the decision of the Federal Government to reduce the $8.1 billion fine imposed on MTN to $800 million.
The red chamber also condemned the failure of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to implement its (Senate) report on alleged illegal repatriation of $14 billion by MTN.
Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, maintained that the CBN failed to implement Senate’s resolutions passed to it before conducting another investigation into the alleged infraction by MTN.
Ibrahim said that his committee would immediately demand CBN report on the matter to be better informed.
According to Ibrahim, the only way Nigerians would know what transpired between the CBN and MTN on the $8.1 billion fine was through a detailed report.
“We took them up on the issue, and the apex bank told us how they did the investigation. We’re taking them up based on the fact that we have investigated and we saw what happened.
“All our resolutions were passed to them, and they did not even implement the resolutions before saying they’re going into another investigation.
“They said their investigation was based on a petition from a law firm and their stand was that the penalty was correct. So, if from the information you have now, it will be ridiculous for them to say they’re bringing the penalty down from $8.1billion to about $800million. That will be ridiculous for the CBN.”
Recall that the CBN, had in late August, demanded that MTN Group Limited refund the sum of $8.1 billion which it was accused of illegally moving from Nigeria through the help of four banks, including CitiBank, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.
MTN and the affected banks all denied this claim, even as new evidence soon emerged that the telecoms company is owing Nigeria the sum of $2 billion in back taxes.
It was reported that some stakeholders in the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), have expressed displeasure over MTN’s constant infractions and troubles with the Nigerian authorities while also urging the leading telco to desist from denting the public’s perception of them.
The stakeholders are also stressed the need for MTN to get its act together by entrenching the culture of best practice, good corporate governance and ensuring that they abide by Nigeria’s laws ahead of the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) which is expected by May next year.