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‘Capital flight’: Senate absolves MTN, indicts CBN

By Taiye Odewale

Abuja

Senate yesterday absolved the Mobile Telecommunication Limited (MTN) Nigeria of alleged unscrupulous violation of the Foreign Exchange Act and fraudulent practices .
The exoneration of the MTN of wrong doing followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions which investigated allegations of capital flight levied against the telecommunication giant.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim presented the 40 page report to the Senate in plenary.
The report said that the committee did not receive proof of collusion to contravene the foreign exchange laws.
It noted that there was evidence of massive capital outflow but the fact alone is not conclusive that a crime has been committed.
The upper chamber adopted the recommendation to “condemn the Central Bank of Nigerian for failing in its duty to bring forth observed deficiencies of Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act (FEMMA) for amendment rather than granting extensions and exemptions which became prone to abuses.” It also adopted the recommendation to “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.
It also accepted the recommendation to sanction the activities of Stanbic IBTC Nominees in the matter of shares transfer and splitting for the purpose of dividend repatriation.
It mandated 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 the foreign exchange.
It directed the CBN to forthwith render periodic status report to the Senate on the performance of foreign investments inflow and outflow. The committee chairman explained that it is important to stress that the investigation was not in anyway intended to discredit investors who took the plunge in the seemingly murky waters of Nigerian nascent telecommunications sector.

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