SENATE
has summoned the
Minister of Communication
Technology, Adebayo Shittu and
Attorney General and Minister
of Justice, Abubakar Malami,
to come and explain their
involvement in the claim that
the Mobile Telecommunications
Network, 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
Mobile Telecommunications
Network, MTN, Nigeria.
This is contained in a
strongly worded statement
endorsed by the Chairman,
Senate Committee on
Communications, Senator
Gilbert Nnaji, obtained by our
correspondent.
The statement is entitled
“Urgent legislative intervention
on the alleged controversial
payment of N50 billion by
Telecom service provider, MTA,
with regard to the fine of N780
billion imposed on it by NCC”
and dated March 3rd, 2016.
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.
The committee said that
it resorted to legislative
intervention given the public
outcry the transaction has
continued to generate.
It said that as part of its
statutory obligations, the
committee has risen to the
challenge of comprehensively
reviewing the circumstances
surrounding the entire process
with a view to straightening
the records and also ensuring
that the country was not short-
changed.
The statement read in part,
“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.
“Curiously, it was reported
that MTN was rather misguided
to lodge the said N50 billion
into the CBN Recovery Account
which is specially designated
for the recovered looted funds.
“The committee is of the
view that such payment if
actually well-intended ought
to have passed through NCC
as against the criminal act of
circumventing the regulatory
agency in the overall process.
This is a clear case of deliberate
mischief.
“As such, the Committee
is worried 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 which to
all intents and purposes calls
for a serious investigation in
line with the zero-tolerance for
corruption stance of the Federal
Government.

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