(DailyNewsUg) Lawmakers in the Nigerian Senate have agreed to investigate an allegation that MTN Nigeria illegally transferred 13.92 billion dollars out of the country through its bankers between 2006 and 2016.
The move comes as Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, faces recession for the first time in more than 20 years.
The investigation threatens to raise tensions between Nigeria and the South African firm just three months after MTN agreed to pay $5.2Billion in a settlement with the government over unregistered sim cards.
MTN is the largest mobile phone operator in Africa and Nigeria accounts for around one third of the company’s revenues.
Its shares were down by 4.20 percent, at 1:46 pm local time on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
MTN $5.2 billion fine
The MTN $5.2 billion fine is a fine on a major telecommunication firm in Nigeia by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC). The commission exercised section 20(1) of the Telephone Subscribers regulation (TSR) law on MTN, for not meeting the deadline set up by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) for disconnecting the Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) with improper registration. The compliance audit carried out by the NCC on MTN network revealed unregistered 5.2 million customers lines un-deactivated. This led to the NCC fining MTN with the sum of $1000 for each unregistered SIM, which amounted to $5.2bn.
What followed was major resignations among the top echelon of the organisation including the chief executive officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, the Head of Nigeria Operation, Micheal Ikpoki and the Head of Cooperate Affairs, Akinwale Goodluck being replaced with Phuthuma Nhleko, Ferdi Moolman and Amina Oyegbola as new chairman, managing director and Head of Corporate and Regulation respectively.
The new management employed a diplomatic measure between the government of the Republic of South Africa and its Nigerian counterpart to ameliorate the burden of the liabilities from the fine. This action brought about the reduction of the liability to $3.2 billion.
The registration of SIM cards started in the year 2010, the initial phase of this project was handled by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs). However, NCC took over these operations because the service providers could not meet up with the six months earmarked by NCC. The registration by NCC started in March 2011 and it was anchored by seven consultants.