$13.9bn probe: Senate engages forensic experts to probe MTN, minister, others

•I’m not guilty of any offence —Enelamah

THE Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions has engaged forensic experts to investigate the procedures adopted by telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah and four banks in repatriating the sum of $13.9 billion from Nigerian shores.

The committee, headed by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, said on Wednesday that the experts would help it unravel how $13.92 billion was allegedly repatriated from Nigeria between 2006 and 2016, in violation of the nation’s extant laws.

Senator Ibrahim, who stated this while addressing newsmen in the Senate, said the stage was set now set for the investigation, adding that all those concerned persons had been invited for the public hearing today.

His statement was coming on the heels of a declaration by the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Enelamah that he was innocent of any crime in the MTN saga.

Enelamah, in his submission to the committee, denied any wrongdoing, adding that he was never appointed as a director of MTN.

While addressing newsmen, however, Senator Ibrahim, accompanied by the sponsor of the motion seeking a probe of MTN and others, Senator Dino Melaye and Senator Peter Nwaboashi, said forensic experts who would come from within and outside the country were already on hand to help carry out thorough investigations.

“The committee has written and invited MTN and its promoters and stakeholders to appear before it on Thursday, October 20, 2016,” he said.

He stated that those invited included the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Dr Pascal Dozie; Dr Enelamah; Ahmed Dasuki; Gbenga Oyebode; Babatunde Falowiyo; Mohammed Sani Bello and Victor Odili.

Others invited included Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and Diamond Bank.

“The committee has also written to the Central Bank of Nigeria and Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria for information on this matter.

“This is because the activities of MTN and it bankers are in clear violation of Section 15 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act, 1995, and Memorandum 20 and 22 relating to the purchase and sale of Securities and Direct Foreign Capital Investment in Nigeria respectively,” Ibrahim said.

Enelamah, in a letter to the committee, insisted that he never earned any dividend directly from MTN shares, adding also that he was never the owner of Celtelcom Investment Limited or a shareholder of Celtelcom, as recorded in the votes and proceedings of the Senate on Tuesday, September 27, 2016.”

“It is also important to note that investors do not have responsibility for the remittance of proceeds from the company they invested in.

“Therefore, at no time was I ever in a position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN and at no time did I transfer any funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN,” he had written in the letter.