Abba Kyari, chief of staff to the president, has written to the director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the inspector general of police to investigate him over reports that he received a bribe from MTN.
It was alleged that he collected N500 million from the telecoms giants in order to help reduce their fine from N1.04 trillion to N330 billion for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
Kyari also wrote to Pascal Dozie, chairman of MTN Nigeria, requesting that the allegation be confirmed or denied because the company was specifically mentioned.
MTN subsequently denied the report, but nothing has been heard from the chief of staff who has been at the centre of public scrutiny for corruption since the allegation was made.
In copies of the letters, which were all written in September and seen by TheCable, Kyari asked DSS and the police to investigate claims that he received “payment or payments” from MTN “for the purpose of mitigating the fine imposed by the NCC”.
The specific nature of the allegation requires investigation, he further wrote.
Kyari attached a printed copy of the online reports to his letters.
TheCable understands that the security agencies have commenced investigation.
Reports had suggested that it was President Muhammadu Buhari that ordered an investigation of Kyari, but a presidency official told TheCable that the taciturn chief of staff believes he has nothing to hide, hence his decision to write to the security agencies by himself.
“The chief of staff is not a fan of media wars. He doesn’t believe in rejoinders and that is why I am showing you copies of his letters,” the official, who chose not to be named, told TheCable.
“Malam Kyari always says as a former editor himself, he knows the difference between investigative journalism and planted stories. The stories in the media are planted. They are not as a result of any rigorous investigation.
“He expects more stories to be planted in the media as people struggle to gain the attention of the president. They think Malam Kyari is their problem and if they can take him out, then there will be free passage. Let’s see how far they can go.”
The source also said Kyari knew nothing about how the MTN fine was reduced.
“To the best of my knowledge, Malam was actually against the fine being reduced. But a committee set up to look into the issue recommended a reduction. Malam was not a member of the committee and he was not the one that approved it,” the official said.