MTN’s Oyagbola Fired over bribery, not Voluntary Resignation – Sources as Telco Says It is Untrue, Malicious

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(Last Updated On: 2016-12-23)

Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen

 

 

The ‘voluntary resignation’ of one of the top staffers and Human Resources Executive at MTN Nigeria, Amina Oyagbola, may not have been the true picture of what led to her announced quitting the country’s largest telecoms company by the end of this month, reports have indicated.

A United States-based online news platform, saharareporters, in a report, claming access to multiple sources, had said that South African telecom giant, MTN ‘fired’ Oyagbola ‘in order to avoid scrutiny by the United States government over bribes offered to Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari.’

But in one swoop, the Public Relations and Protocol Manager of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Funso Aina,  has told  AP News Nigeria that  such as report by the US-based online platform was “untrue”, “fictitious” and “a tissues of lies.”

“The report today in Sahara Reporters on Amina Oyagbola is a malicious tissue of lies that could only have come from the bottom of hell. It is pure fiction crafted by someone with a very fertile imagination and as a result should be condemned because it is absolutely untrue and wicked,” Aina said in Short Messaging Service (SMS) sent to react to the development yesterday.

Meanwhile, the saharareporters’ report had earlier claimed that shortly after helping to resolve a hefty fine imposed by the Nigerian government, Amina Oyagbola was so important to MTN that the company gave her two strategic positions.

Her corporate elevation saw her combining leadership of the Human Resources department with the post of “Director of Strategic Communications” at MTN.

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Oyagbola and her husband were said to be instrumental  in resolving MTN’s serious problem with the Nigerian Presidency culminating in a massive $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company for ignoring the Nigerian government’s directive to ensure that all SIM cards were registered as a strategy to curb Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria’s northeast.

Citing an insider within the company and other sources in Abuja, the report said that, once the fine was imposed, Oyagbola recruited a close friend, Femi Lijadu, to act as a consultant for “strategic advisory services.”

In that capacity, Mr. Lijadu was a member of the team that negotiated with the Federal Government to reduce the fine to $1.7 billion. One of our sources said Ms. Oyagbola and Mr. Lijadu once worked with presidential Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari at the United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Once the fine was reduced to about a third of the original sum, Oyagbola’s corporate star seemed to soar.

MTN last week, told her to step down from one of her two corporate positions, says the report, though a statement issued to the media last week by MTN Corporate Affairs department claimed that Oyagbola decided to resign.

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Besides, another source within the company told Saharareporters that the once powerful corporate player was fired after MTN’s bribe scandal with Mr. Kyari came to the notice of the MTN’s parent company in South Africa.

Another sources was also quoted to have added that the decision to relieve Ms. Oyagbola was taken in order to avoid the consequences of a global disgrace should US authorities ask questions related to the company’s reported offer of an undisclosed sum as bribe to Mr. Kyari before the senior presidential aide helped broker a deal that lowered the fine earlier imposed by the government.

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