Okechukwu Enelamah, Nigeria’s minister for industry, trade and investment, has dismissed accusations on Thursday that he was involved in an alleged illegal transfer of $13.92 billion by South African telecoms giant MTN, according to Reuters.
Last week, Senator Dino Melaye accused MTN of “gross money laundering” and named four banks, and Mr. Enelamah has accomplices.
The Nigerian Senate, earlier this week, adopted the motion by Melaye and commenced an investigation into the allegation that MTN had used Enelamah and others to move the money out of Nigeria between 2006 and 2016.
MTN denied the allegations on Wednesday and Enelamah’s office issued a statement on Thursday, May 29, 2016 saying the accusations were “without merit and baseless”.
“At no time was Dr. Enelamah in a position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria, and at no time did Dr. Enelamah transfer any funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria,” the statement added.
The decision by the Senate to pursue the allegations against MTN represents another setback for MTN in its biggest market.
The Senate’s move comes just three months after the South African firm agreed to pay a fine of 330 billion naira ($1.02 billion) to end a dispute over unregistered SIM cards.