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Report: Presidency orders probe of Buhari’s chief of staff, Kyari, over bribery allegation

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Report: Presidency orders probe of Buhari’s chief of staff, Kyari, over bribery allegation

Vanguard newspaper is reporting that Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, is being investigated by the Special Investigation Panel of the Nigerian Police Force over bribery allegations.

Kyari is alleged to have received the sum of N500 million from telecommunications company, MTN, as bribe in order to convince the government to reduce the heavy $5 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigeria Telecommunications Commission (NJC) over failure to register sim cards.

The accusation against Kyari was first published by online newspaper, Sahara Reporters, which said that MTN approached Kyari so he could his closeness and influence on the president to ensure the reduction in the fine.

According to Vanguard, the Presidency has directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to investigate the allegation and come out with findings regarding the accusation. The Scoop cannot independently confirm this story.

Here is how the paper reported it:

Sources close to the investigation panel told Vanguard that after days of investigation, all attempts to get the publishers of Sahara Reporters to come forward and avail it with evidence of the N500 million bribe; when it was given, where and how the money was collected, has proved abortive.

Firstly, the source who spoke under condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the issue, said the fact that the online medium is based in the United States has not helped matters.

“Officials of MTN, who were invited and interviewed over the allegation, have vehemently denied that any such money emanated from the telecommunication company and that since the beginning of the $5billion fine saga, nobody had been approached for bribe.

“Another thing is that if such volume of money was paid through the banks, discreet investigation of financial dealings on the part of MTN and on the part of the COS has so far not revealed any transactions of such.”

The officials of MTN drew the attention of the Police to the fact that the issue of the $5 billion fine resulted into diplomatic exchanges between South African government and their Nigerian Counterpart to the extent that during President Jacob Zuma’s visit to Nigeria, the issue came up for discussion between Zuma and President Buhari. They (MTN Officials) then wondered how issue of bribery allegation can be alleged against a government that abhors and is fighting corruption in all sectors of the economy.

Meanwhile there are indications that the Police Investigation team may conclude the report of the allegation soon if the grace period it has given the online media organisation lapses and they fail to provide evidence to substantiate the allegation.

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