Senate blames CBN for MTN’s $13.9 billion repatriation

MTN Nigeria office
MTN Nigeria office

The Senate has blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria for allowing telecoms company, MTN, to abuse of its policy regulating capital repatriation.

Specifically, the Senate blamed the bank for not bringing up the observed deficiencies of the Foreign Exchange Miscellaneous Monitoring Act, FEMMA.

Adopting the recommendations by its Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, the Senate blamed CBN for granting some extensions and exemptions which became prone to sharp practices by commercial banks.

The lawmakers however cleared MTN of wrongdoing, saying the firm broke no law.

The Senate in October 2016 launched a probe into the allegation that MTN illegally transferred a total sum of $13.9 billion from Nigeria to other countries between 2006 and 2016.

The Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions had summoned the top actors in the case which include; the CBN, MTN management, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, three commercial banks and some businessmen over alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Act to a public hearing.

At one of the Senate hearings, MTN said it failed to comply with the law requiring issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) within 24 hours of conversion because it was a mere “administrative requirement”.

The Senate panel report, submitted and unanimously adopted by the lawmakers, condemned the CBN for its policy role in facilitating the repatriation.

The Senate “condemn the Central Bank of Nigeria for failing in its duty to bring forth those observed deficiencies of FEMMA for amendment rather than granting extensions and exemptions, which became prone to abuses.

“Mandate the CBN to sanction Stanbic IBTC for improper documentations in respect of capital repatriation and loan repayments amounting to $388,195,183 and $199,440,952:07, respectively.

“Mandate the CBN to sanction the activities of Stanbic IBTC Nominees in the matter of shares transfer and splitting for the purpose of dividend repatriation.

“Mandate the CBN to come up with a proposal for the amendment of FEMMA, with a view to ensuring the growth of the economy through massive foreign capital inflow and greater retention of foreign exchange. The amendment is still ongoing in the Senate.

“Direct the CBN to forthwith render periodic status reports to Senate on the performance of foreign investments inflows and outflows.”

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