After more than one year of probe, the Senate has come out to say that rather than blaming MTN Nigeria for the repatriation of $13.9bn, the Central bank of Nigeria and Stanbic IBTC Bank may have erred in their regulatory and banking procedure during the cash movement between 2006 and 2016.
It would be recalled that MTN had been in the eye of the law over its activities in moving the sum back to South Africa without following procedures.
The report of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on the probe at the plenary revealed that MTN Nigeria only acted within the prevailing circumstance and should not be blamed for taking what belongs to it at a time the regulatory agency had erred in law and available regulations.
Senate had, in October 2016, begun a probe into the allegation that MTN illegally transferred a total sum of $13.9bn from Nigeria to other countries between 2006 and 2016.
Part of the key recommendations by the Committee which were all adopted tend to “condemn the Central Bank of Nigeria for failing in its duty to bring forth those observed deficiencies of FEMMA for amendment rather than granting extensions and exemptions, which became prone to abuses”.
“Mandate the CBN to sanction Stanbic IBTC for improper documentations in respect of capital repatriation and loan repayments amounting to $388,195,183 and $199,440,952:07, respectively.
“Mandate the CBN to sanction the activities of Stanbic IBTC Nominees in the matter of shares transfer and splitting for the purpose of dividend repatriation.
“Mandate the CBN to come up with a proposal for the amendment of FEMMA, with a view to ensuring the growth of the economy through massive foreign capital inflow and greater retention of foreign exchange. The amendment is still ongoing in the Senate.
“Direct the CBN to forthwith render periodic status reports to Senate on the performance of foreign investments inflows and outflows.”
However, responding, MTN Nigeria noted that “We welcome the report. We will study it in more detail. As we’ve placed on record previously, we have always insisted that our actions have been compliant with the law in this regard.”