By Ifeanyi Nwoko
The President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki said on Thursday that the $13.9 billion allegedly repatriated by MTN Nigeria was enough to pull the country out of recession.
Saraki disclosed this while opening the legislative hearing on the alleged repatriation of the funds by MTN, nation’s giant telecoms provider, in connivance with some Nigerian banks and individuals.
The investigative hearing is being conducted by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.
The President of the Senate, who was represented by the Majority Whip of the Senate, Olusola Adeyeye said that the amount involved was mind boggling.
“The amount of money involved in the alleged repatriation by MTN could pull Nigeria out of recession.
“We are duty bound to make sure that such breach of constitutional processes are investigated; be assured that this is not witch-hunt but a fact finding exercise.
“This 8th senate has devoted a lot of attention on legislations that will improve the business environment.
“This hearing goes to show this commitment and so we expect maximum cooperation from the regulatory authorities; failure to do so will mean culpability.
“We intend to get to the bottom of this and get the facts and nothing but the fact.
“At the end of this, based on the calibre of people that are here, Nigerian will get to know the truth about what transpired,” he said.
Saraki urged the committee to be thorough in their investigation.
In his opening remark, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Rafiu Ibrahim, said that the investigation was not a witch-hunt but an avenue to block loopholes and revenue leakages.
He berated the individuals, who did not honour the invitation of the senate, stressing that they would be handled appropriately.
Meanwhile, Sen. Dino Melaye, alleged that the crime of repatriating funds was not done by only MTN.
Melaye, who blew the whistle on MTN on the alleged repatriation, said that a number of multinational companies were also engaging in repatriation of funds.
He expressed hope that those companies which had been engaging in the repatriation would also be uncovered by the investigation.