Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah yesterday denied any involvement or knowledge of illegal transfer of funds out of Nigeria by MTN contrary to the allegations by Dino Melaye, a Kogi state senator.
In a statement by the Director of Press in the ministry, Greyne Anosike, the minister was never the owner of Celtelecom neither was he a shareholder of the company.
Melaye had in a motion on the floor of the Senate alleged that MTN illegally transferred $13.9 billion out of Nigeria with the help of the minister. The motion was proposed to launch an investigation into the said illegal transfer of funds from Nigeria by MTN.
The minister however disputed the claims.
“Dr. Enelamah served as the CEO of Capital Alliance Nigeria Limited (CANL) between 1998 and 2015. CANL is a wholly owned subsidiary of African Capital Alliance (“ACA”), an Africa focused private equity firm with investments in carefully selected companies within and outside Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria.
“A fund managed by ACA, alongside other minority shareholders, invested in MTN Nigeria through Celtelecom. Dr Enelamah was never the “owner” of Celtelecom as alleged by the Senator; neither was he ever a Celtelecom shareholder. Instead he was a director of the company, representing the ACA managed fund.
“Investors do not have responsibility for remittance of proceeds from the company they invest in. Therefore, 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 said.
“As it relates to Celtelecom’s investment in MTN Nigeria, it is important to note that the entire process for applying for and using CCIs was done by MTN Nigeria. Dr Enelamah resigned all his board positions, including from ACA and Celtelecom, consequent to his appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“While Dr. Enelamah welcomes any investigations the Senate may decide to carry out on the activities of these companies, it should be noted that all the allegations as made by the Senator are without merit and baseless.”
MTN has already denied the accusations that it repatriated $13.92 billion illegally from Nigeria.