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Senate Withdraws Report Acquitting MTN of Forex Transfers

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  • Senate Withdraws Report Acquitting MTN of Forex Transfers

The Senate has withdrawn a report that largely exonerated MTN Nigeria of accusations of illegally repatriating $14bn and that rebuked the Central Bank of Nigeria for regulatory failures.

The report, presented to the Senate on Thursday and reviewed by Reuters, was almost immediately sent back for further work, because it did not capture possible infractions by all stakeholders, two people familiar with the matter said.

The upper house of parliament agreed last September to investigate whether Africa’s biggest telecoms company unlawfully repatriated $13.92bn from Nigeria, its most lucrative market, which generates a third of its revenue, between 2006 and 2016.

MTN, which has denied any wrongdoing, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The crux of the allegation is that MTN did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency in Nigeria within a 24-hour deadline stipulated in a 1995 law, and so the repatriation of returns on those investments was illegal.

The Senate formed a committee to investigate the allegations against MTN and financial institutions, including the CBN, and commercial banks such as Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc.

The committee’s report gave no recommendations for punitive measures against MTN.

Instead, the report rebuked the central bank for its failure to monitor fund transfers to and from the country, calling its oversight of banks “inadequate.”

It recommended that the Senate “condemn the Central Bank of Nigeria for failing in its duty” to address problems with its monitoring of foreign exchange transfers.

The CBN’s duty is to correct and, if needed, sanction banks and their customers for any wrongdoing, which it never did, said the report, adding that the central bank never testified to the committee that there were any infractions.

By never applying sanctions, the CBN had lent credence to the banks’ argument that they were not breaking any rules by transferring foreign currency, the report said.

A CBN spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

However, the report also urged the central bank to “sanction Stanbic IBTC for improper documentation in respect of capital repatriation and loan repayments amounting to $388,195,183 and $199,440,952, respectively”.

Stanbic IBTC was not immediately available for comment.

The findings were met with dismay by some in the Senate.

Senators did not understand why the report largely condemned the CBN, while MTN and the commercial banks that transferred money overseas were barely reprimanded, said one of the people familiar with the investigation.

The document is a “poorly investigated report full of indecent holes,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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President Declines Nomination, Endorses Harris for 2024

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In a significant political announcement on his X.com account, President Joe Biden has decided to forgo the opportunity to seek re-election in 2024, instead throwing his full support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

The surprise move, shared with the public this morning, represents a pivotal moment in the Democratic Party’s journey toward the upcoming presidential election.

In his statement, Biden said that his choice to step aside is driven by a desire to concentrate on his remaining duties as President.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside Harris, calling her selection as his Vice President in 2020 “the best decision” he has made. “My fellow Democrats,” Biden began, “I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”

The President’s announcement signifies a strategic shift in the 2024 election landscape. By endorsing Kamala Harris, Biden not only aims to consolidate support within the party but also to set the stage for a unified front against former President Donald Trump.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” Biden declared. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.”

This endorsement comes as a surprise to many, given Biden’s earlier commitment to seeking re-election.

However, it reflects a broader strategic maneuver to ensure party unity and strengthen the Democratic position in the face of a formidable opponent. By focusing on Harris, Biden aims to leverage her growing popularity and political acumen to fortify the party’s chances in the upcoming election.

Kamala Harris, who has served as Vice President since January 2021, will now be thrust into the spotlight as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Her campaign is expected to build on the legacy of the current administration while addressing key issues facing the nation.

The move also raises the stakes for the Republicans, who will need to prepare for a robust campaign from a seasoned political leader in Harris.

As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, Biden’s endorsement is likely to reshape the dynamics of the race, influencing both Democratic strategies and Republican responses.

The coming months will be critical as Harris and her team work to solidify their platform and rally support from voters across the nation.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis

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Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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