The upper legislative chamber has requested the Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu and Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami,to throw more light on their involvement in the claim that MTN Nigeria Limited, has paid N50 billion to the Federal Government.
Also summoned for the same purpose is the Executive Vice-Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria.
Ripples Nigeria gathered that chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, had in a statement at the weekend sought clarifications on the alleged controversial payment of N50 billion by the teleco.
The committee noted that in the course of its oversight function specifically in relation to the sanction of N780 billion imposed on MTN, NCC could not offer any proof of receiving money from MTN.
It said that curiously, it was reported that MTN was rather misguided to lodge the said N50 billion into the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Recovery Account which is specially designated for recovered looted funds.
The committee said that it is of the view that such payment if actually well-intended ought to have passed through NCC instead of circumventing the regulatory agency in the overall process. The Committee expressed worry that “the rushed payment and subsequent withdrawal of the MTN-instituted legal action is not only suspicious but constitutes a grave economic and financial infraction as well as brazen breach of due process in relation to payment of fines. The development, it said, calls for a serious investigation in line with the zero-tolerance for corruption stance of the Federal Government.
In the statement which reads in part, the committee said: “The attention of the Senate Committee on Communications has been drawn to widespread media publications particularly quoting the Honourable Minister of Communication Technology, Adebayo Shittu, as claiming that the Mobile Telecommunications Network, MTN, Nigeria Limited has made a down payment of N50 billion to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, relative to the fine of N780 billion that was imposed on the service provider by the agency.
“The Committee wishes therefore to state clearly that going by the records of NCC whose constitutional mandate it is to superintend the mobile network operations in the country, and also in the prevailing circumstance, reserves the sole right on behalf of the Federal Government, to receive payment of any sort; MTN has unfortunately not in any way complied or shown any commitment whatsoever in this regard.
“For the avoidance of doubt and in the course of the oversight function of the Committee specifically in relation to the sanction, NCC could not offer any proof of receiving money from MTN.
“The Committee also wonders why these willful contradictions would be orchestrated by those considered knowledgeable enough especially in the business of democratic governance.
“Consequently, it has officially summoned all those concerned to appear before it to shed full light on their extent of involvement and or, respective roles in the unacceptable abuse of office.”
The committee set aside 10th March, 2016 for those invited to appear before it.
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