More trouble may be brewing for South African mobile operator MTN in Nigeria after a lawmaker claimed that it may have illegally moved more than the previously claimed $14 billion out of the country.
The Bloomberg report comes after authorities initially accused the operator of illegally moving $14 billion out of the country.
In September Dino Melaye, the politician who made the motion, accused MTN of repatriating the money over a period of 10 years beginning in 2006, with the help of four different banks.
MTN Nigeria strongly refuted allegations of improper repatriation of funds. “The allegations made against MTN are completely unfounded and without any merit,” said MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman.
“The reports refer to allegations made on the floor of the Senate that MTN had illegally repatriated $13.92 billion out of Nigeria over a period of 10 years in collusion with a number of commercial banks,” Moolman said last month.
In the Bloomberg report on Thursday, Melaye said: “We have realized from preliminary investigations that it is actually outrageously higher than” the original figure, citing early findings from an investigation into the allegation by international forensic experts.
Accountants and lawyers are also involved in the probe and are examining documents dating back 16 years, said Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, chairman of the committee on banking, insurance and other financial institutions that is leading the inquiry.
Shares in MTN declined R2.83 or 2.5%, to R107.15 on the JSE by 11h30 on Thursday.