Melaye fingers Enelamah, Banks in illegal $14bn MTN transfer out of Nigeria

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(Last Updated On: 2016-09-28)

The Chairman, Senate Committee on the FCT, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) has accused the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah of colluding with ‎MTN to illegally move $13.92billion out of Nigeria between 2006 and 2016 to the company’s home country of South Africa.

Melaye had under Order 42 of the Senate rule last Thursday, alleged that MTN Nigeria was involved in gross money laundering, claiming that “between 2006 and 2016, the MTN Nigeria, in collaboration with four commercial banks and with the help of a serving Minister, has moved over $12bn out of this country”.

Keeping to his promise of providing detail this week, the lawmaker stated that other Nigerians were complicit in the act. He listed the financial institutions allegedly involved in the purported illegal repatriation of $13.9 billion by MTN as: Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and Diamond Bank.

Moving a motion on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, Melaye said, “The senate notes with serious concern the repatriation of $13.92bn illegally out of Nigeria by Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTN) through its‎ bankers between 2006 and 2016.

“Concerned that since inception, MTN had sought the collaboration of influential and unpatriotic Nigerians to assist them in looting our external reserves.

“Pained that these Nigerians, including a serving minister who MTN used in moving $13.92bn out of Nigeria, which is over 50 percent of our external reserves floated and incorporated offshore SPVs in Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island.

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“The minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, owner of CELTELCOM Investment Limited with address at No 608, St James, Denis Street Port-Lewis Mauritius purportedly claimed to invest in MTN on February 7, 2008, got certificate of capital importation and filled form A on the same date, closed his investment in Nigeria after receiving dollar payment‎ for repatriation to New York same day.”

The senator, after the revelation, urged the Upper Chamber to mandate its committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions to carry out a holistic investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, MTN refuted the allegations in a statement issued by the MTN Group Corporate Affairs over the matter.

The Telco said, “MTN’s attention has been drawn to various media reports containing allegations of improper repatriation of money out of Nigeria by the company. The reports refer to allegations made on the floor of the Senate that MTN had illegally repatriated $13.92 billion out of Nigeria over a period of 10 years in collusion with a number of commercial banks.

According to MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, “The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit”.

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