MTN Nigeria says it was impossible to follow the provisions of the law on the issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI) before moving out $13.9 billion out of the country.
Dino Melaye, senator representing Kogi west federal constituency, had accused the telco of flouting Nigerian laws by failing to obtain a (CCI) as authorised by CBN Financial and Miscellaneous Act within 24 hours before moving out $13.9 billion out of the country.
Speaking on CCIs issuance in the matter of alleged repatriation of funds out of Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria, said no dividends were declared or paid until the CCIs were issued and finalised.
In a statement issued by MTN, Moolman added that MTN Nigeria only requested for CCIs for foreign capital that was imported into Nigeria, and dividends were externalised on CCIs.
“Often for various reasons (such as not having all the required documentation for instance), it is not possible to issue a CCI within 24 hours, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Forex Manual contemplates such situations by asking that the banks refer to the CBN for approval,” he said.
“Besides, the requirement to issue a CCI within 24 hours of conversion is an administrative requirement. As such, the CBN has the authority and, indeed we believe, approved the banks’ applications to issue CCIs outside the recommended time frame.”
Moolman explained that most of the monies moved out of the economy were for importation of necessary equipment for the Nigerian economy.
He claimed that MTN was responsible for over 3.4 percent of the country’s GDP, but lamented that telcos faced tough times in the past but pulled through, currently employing over 500,000 people, directly and indirectly.
In September, Melaye had expressed “serious concerns” that since inception, MTN had sought the collaboration of influential and unpatriotic Nigerians to assist them in looting the country’s external reserves.
“The minister of industry, trade and investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, owner of CELTELCOM Investment Limited with address at No 608, St James, Denis Street Port-Lewis Mauritius purportedly claimed to invest in MTN on February 7, 2008, got certificate of capital importation and filled form A on the same date, closed his investment in Nigeria after receiving dollar payment for repatriation to New York same day,” he said, before urging the senate to mandate its committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions to “carry out holistic investigation into the matter”.
MTN denied the allegation, describing it as “completely unfounded and without any merit”.