Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, shocked the nation when he accused South African telecommunication giant, MTN, of gross money laundering.
Melaye who made the revelation under order 42 of the Senate rule, on Thursday, September 22, 2016 was “particularly pained”, saying that at the crucial moment when the nation is plagued with economic challenges, all hands must be on deck to recover every loot in the country.
Speaking further, the senator revealed that, “between 2006 and 2016, the MTN Nigeria, in collaboration with four commercial banks and with the help of a serving minister, has moved over $12 billion out of this country”.
Melaye said that MTN illegally repatriated the money between 2006 and 2016 in violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act.
He accused “some influential and unpatriotic Nigerians” including the minister of industry, trade and investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, of working with MTN to transfer the huge amount out of Nigeria.
He further disclosed that if given the opportunity, he would move the substantive motion in the next legislative day, with concrete evidences.
The controversial senator accused Nigerian banks of being in league with the telecommunication company to shortchange the country. He mentioned Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank who allegedly issued $4.87 billion, $5.72 billion, $2.98 billion and $0.35 billion, respectively, as accomplice in the said money laundering.
The senator pointed out that MTN and its purported accomplices “floated and incorporated offshore SPVs (special purpose vehicles) in Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island,” and did not notify the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) of the capital flight within 48 hours as required by regulations.
“We are in a precarious situation and now is the time to recover every stolen money in the country,” he said