Senator Dino Melaye has accused South African telecom giant, MTN, of money laundering.
He accused MTN of removing $12 billion from Nigeria illegally.
Members of the upper chamber were palpably angered on Thursday when the revelations were made on the floor that the company connived with four commercial banks and a serving minister to ferret out money from Nigeria.
Melaye, representing Kogi West, said on Thursday in Abuja at the senate that MTN, has been involved in gross money laundering.
“My respected colleagues, MTN Nigeria paid a sum of 284.9 million dollars on the 6th of February, 2001, to purchase their licence of operations in this country.
“Between 2006 and 2016, through four Nigerian Banks and a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, MTN moved over 12 billion dollars out of Nigeria.
“That is about half of our external reserves.
“If I get the nod of the Senate I will want to bring a substantive motion on the next legislative day with substantiated facts to buttress this position,” he said.
He made the revelation under order 42 of the Senate rule and said it was particularly painful that the company was involved in illegal money movement at a time Nigeria was in economic mess.
Nigeria he stated, was at a crucial moment and is plagued with economic challenges.
“All hands must be on deck to recover every loot in the country.
“We are in a precarious situation and now is the time to recover every stolen money in the country,” he said
The Senate asked Melaye to present documents at the next legislative day showing evidence of the transfer for immediate investigation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that MTN was involved in a dispute with the Federal Government over the non-registration of 5.2 million subscribers in 2015.
The government subsequently imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on the firm but later reduced it to N330 billion after negotiations but the company has paid N50 billion of the agreed sum.
Ruling on the point of order, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki granted Dino Melaye the privilege of moving the substantive motion during the senate plenary on 27th September, 2016.