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MTN Nigeria denies US$13.92 bn repatriation accusation

Company's CEO says allegation has no merit.

With investigations underway into the alleged repatriation of US$13.92 billion by MTN to its parent company in South Africa over a period of 10 years, the mobile network has denied the allegations brought against it.

The motion to investigate the company was raised by Senator Dino Melaye who said, "My respected colleagues, MTN Nigeria paid a sum of $284.9 million on the 6th of February, 2001 to purchase their licence of operations in this country. Between 2006 and 2016, through four Nigerian banks and a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, MTN moved over $12bn out of Nigeria. That is about half of our external reserves."

The senators subsequently agreed to investigate the matter to be supported with proper documents, with four commercial banks and a serving minister implicated.

Under direction of Senate President Bukola Saraki, lawmakers will examine evidence between 2006 and 2016 to determine if the telecoms company was involved in moving what officials claim is half of Nigeria's external reserves out of the country.

According to Senator Melaye, the act contributed significantly to the fall in the value of the Naira.

MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, denied the allegations brought against the company. "The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit," he said.

Earlier this year, communications minister, Adebayo Shittu, was quoted by regional media that the country loses about US$2.8 billion annually to capital flight.

Furthermore, a report published by This Day in Nigeria referred to analysis of investment turnover in the country's telecoms sector which showed that between 2001 and 2010 alone, only 20% of over US$18 billion investment turnover remained in the country - the remaining 80% had been repatriated out of the country via capital flight.

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