MTN Denies Illegal Transfer Of $14 bn From Nigeria

South Africa’s MTN has denied it illegally transferred $13.9 billion from Nigeria in the latest scandal to hit the telecom firm in its largest market in the continent.

The Johannesburg-based firm is facing a parliamentary probe over accusations it connived with senior Nigerian officials to move the funds out of the country without complying with the law.

“We would like to reiterate that at no point did MTN Nigeria (MTNN) illegally repatriate funds out of Nigeria or collaborate with Nigerians to loot the external reserves of the country,” Ferdinand Moolman, the chief executive officer of MTNN told the Senate hearing in Abuja on Thursday.“MTNN is a Nigerian company and is proud to be conducting business in Nigeria. It therefore categorically refutes any accusations of money laundering, economic sabotage or tax evasion levied against it,” he added.

Moolman said all monies repatriated by the company were in respect of dividend payments and capital divestment originating from legitimate foreign direct investment.

“The dividend payments were made to shareholders who imported foreign capital for investment in MTNN,” he said.

Moolman also exonerated Nigeria’s Trade and Investment Minister Okechukwu Elenemah from the alleged capital flight.

“We would like to state that Dr Elenemah has never been a director or shareholder of MTNN,” he said, adding that the minister had not connived with the company to move funds out of Nigeria.

The parliamentary probe followed a motion last month by Dino Melaye, a senator from central Kogi state which called for MTN to be investigated over the alleged illegal transfers.

Four local banks were alleged to have been used to move the funds with the help of the trade minister.

The probe is the latest setback to hit MTN in Nigeria.

The firm was last year slammed with a $3.9 billion fine for failing to cut off 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, amid fears that some of the affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents.

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Arsenal ‘Ready’ To Spend Money In Transfer Market – Wenger

Arsene Wenger says he is prepared to enter the transfer market before the window closes on 31 August.


The Arsenal boss has been criticised by fans for a lack of signings in recent years but his squad has suffered a spate of recent injuries.


I can reassure people we’re ready to spend the money we have,” Wenger said.


It’s important to spend money but more important to spend it the right way. There are two markets, one for English clubs, one for the rest of Europe.


The Gunners saw Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi go off in their opening Premier League defeat against Liverpool on Sunday, while Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Jack Wilshere were injured in pre-season and Danny Welbeck is a long-term absentee.

Wenger said Ramsey “should be back after the international break”, ruling him out of league matches at Leicester on Saturday and Watford on 27 August and making him doubtful for Wales’ opening World Cup qualifier with Moldova on 5 September.


The 66-year-old Frenchman, who has been in charge of the Gunners since October 1996, urged the fans to trust his judgement and said he had completed over 400 transfers during his time at Arsenal.


It is dangerous. English clubs suffocate themselves by buying players at a high price with high wages, if it goes wrong you are left with players with high wages,” he said.

The identity of the buyer multiplies transfers by two or three or even 10 times more.

Chibok Girls: Army Transfer Aisha Wakil To DSS

The Nigerian Army has handed one of the three persons it declared wanted, Aisha Wakil, a lawyer, to the Department of State Security (DSS) after interrogation at a military facility for about four hours.

It was gathered that the self proclaimed friend of the Boko Haram terrorist group who said she had access to its members and was willing to facilitate a negotiation with the group with regards to the fate of the abducted Chibok girls, wrote a statement after the interrogation before she was transferred to DSS on Wednesday.

Recall that Aisha Wakil was declared wanted along with a Dubai-based Nigerian journalist, Ahmad Salkida and Ahmed Bolori over claims that they were privy to videos being released by Boko Haram and had knowledge of whereabouts of missing Chibok girls.

It was not clear why Wakil who voluntarily submitted herself to the Army authorities was handed over to the DSS but a source hinted that it was for further investigation as she could prove useful in getting to the root of the Chibok girls debacle.

Before submitting herself to the military authorities, Wakil had complained in the post internet thus “Aisha Wakil to @HQNigerian Army. You are out for mischief. Yes I have links with Boko Haram and you have always known that”.

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Arsene Wenger May Buy An “Experienced Striker” Soon.

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has admitted that he is trying to sign an “experienced” striker this summer.


The Gunners have already signed Granit Xhaka, Rob Holding and Tasumo Akano, but with only Olivier Giroud as their recognised forward, Wenger is still searching for a new player.


Speaking after his team defeated the MLS All-Stars 2-1 in San Jose, Wenger said: “At the moment I have not too many attacking options in terms of experienced players,” he said.


“But let’s not forget we still have a few players at home.


“There are also a few players who did not play [against the MLS All-Star team], like [Santi] Cazorla and of course [Mesut] Ozil and [Aaron] Ramsey are at home. [Olivier] Giroud is also not here.


“So we have options but we will still look outside to find one more.”

Catholic Church Gives Reason For Father Mbaka’s Transfer

The Catholic Church on Monday clarified the recent transfer of Father Ejike Mbaka, saying the controversial priest was merely being sent to where he would be more useful to the church.

In its first reaction since the controversy over the transfer broke, the church church said the posting was not meant to be punitive.

In an exclusive interview on Monday, the Secretary-General of the Catholic Secretar?iat of Nigeria, Reverend Father Ralph Madu said transfer of priests within the catholic church is a “normal church procedure.”

“Mbaka’s own is not an exception,” Mr. Madu said. “The Bishop has the right to post any priest wherever he feels his service would be more useful to the church.”

Public criticisms had greeted the Enugu Diocese’s recent decision to transfer Mr. Mbaka out of Christ the King Parish?, GRA, where he had served for over a decade and had established a popular prayer ministry, the Adoration Prayer Ministry.

Mr. Mbaka is to resume immediately at his new post at the Our Lady Parish, Emene.

The priest, who is as fiery as he is controversial, had described his ?re-posting by the church as a “calculated move” to make him suffer.

“I know we are going to suffer within now and few months to come,” the priest said. I am going to suffer and suffer; I know that. I’m going to suffer because I have no place to put my head. I am going to suffer because I have no place to keep the Adoration Ministry’s assets. I know I’m going to suffer.”

On Sunday, the South-East zone of the All Progressives Congress alleged that Bishop Callistus Onaga was manipulated by external forces into effecting Mr. Mbaka’s transfer.

“As a party, we have watched with concern and trepidation the criticism, the attack, assault and unpleasant comments hurled against Fr. Mbaka since he providentially prophesied that President Buhari would win the 2015 elections,” the APC said in a statement by Osita Okechukwu, Spokesperson of its South-East caucus.

“Even the church did not spare him; he was called unprintable names, yet his prophecy came true.”

Credit: PremiumTimes

APC Alleges Manipulation In Fr Mbaka’s Transfer

The south-east geopolitical zone of the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, expressed displeasure over the traditional routine transfer of fiery Enugu-based Catholic priest,Fr. Ejike Mbaka, alleging that unseen hands acted on Bishop Callistus Onaga’s discretion that culminated in the decision.


Fr. Mbaka was affected in the routine transfer of over 1,000 priests in the Catholic Diocese of Enugu with effect from January 30, which saw him leave Christ the King,CKP, GRA, where he had been the Parish Priest for over a decade to Our Lady Parish Emene.

The cleric had in nostalgic remark while leaving the CKP premises for Our Lady Parish Emene, last Saturday lamented that,”this is a calculated move to make me suffer by a certain leader of the church. I know we are going to suffer within now and few months to come. I am going to suffer and suffer; I know that. I’m going to suffer because I have no place to put my head. I am going to suffer because I have no place to keep the Adoration ministry’s assets. I know I’m going to suffer.”

While reacting to Fr. Mbaka’s predicament, spokesperson, South-East APC Caucus, Osita Okechukwu said:”Whereas we accept that the transfer of priests is a routine exercise of the great Catholic Church; however, we do not wholly accept a situation where the church allows external forces to influence transfer as Mbaka’s case suggests. Otherwise, future liberation clergy who speak the truth will be punished to the detriment of the society.

“Our major concern is the security implications and the fate of his flocks who are mostly the down trodden who may find it difficult to go to Emene for salvation and healing. We frown at anything which will put Fr. Mbaka in harms way or deny his flocks healing.

“As a party, we have watched with concern and trepidation the criticism, the attack, assault and unpleasant comments hurled against Fr. Mbaka since he providentially prophesied that President Buhari would win the 2015 elections. Even the church did not spare him; he was called unprintable names, yet his prophecy came true. We are happy that Fr Mbaka was vindicated.”

“It must be pointed out that accusing fingers were pointed at the direction of some anti-Buhari elements like Ohanaeze Ndigbo, a group that didn’t want to hear the name of Buhari; even though Ohanaeze denied the allegation, doubts still persists. For we are still at a loss why a senior priest will be degraded to an assistant parish priest.”

“We repeat that we are in solidarity with Fr. Mbaka and our major concern is the security of Fr. Mbaka and the suffering of his flocks mostly the poor who need his healing powers. We had thought that His Lordship Bishop Calistus Onaga could have retained him at the Adoration Ground, as the Bishop Emeritus Gbuji did because of security of his life and easy access by his flocks”.

Switzerland To Transfer Another $300 Million Abacha Loot To Nigeria– Minister

The government of Switzerland is prepared to transfer to the Nigerian government, another $300 million recovered from the family of former military ruler, Sani Abacha, foreign minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, announced Monday.

The money is part of an estimated $5 billion stolen and stashed in foreign accounts by the late dictator.

Nigeria has in the last 10 years received over $1 billion from the Swiss and American governments, but there are growing concerns past administrations misused the huge sum.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Okonjo-Iweala Named In N1.17b ‘Suspicious’ Transfer

A House of Representatives ad hoc committee is probing the “suspicious” transfer to another account of N1.17bilion approved for a Federal Government agency.

The committee is seeking answers to why the immediate past Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, reversed a presidential directive which approved the money for the Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority (SRRBA).

Besides, the committee is seeking to establish:

  • Who applied for the withdrawal since payment was initiated through an application by the SRRBDA?
  • How a ministerial directive can override a presidential approval;
  • Where the money was returned to after it was withdrawn from the account of the Authority; and
  • Whether the withdrawal was politically motivated given the time of the withdrawal

The committee has hinted of the likelihood of inviting the ex-minister.

Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is at the centre of a storm over her release of $330m Abacha loot to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), without appropriation. The money, which she said was meant as a loan for arms procurement, later turned out to be part of the cash being shred to politicians and friends of that government before the last general election.

President Goodluck Jonathan, in a letter, approved the release of the money to the River Basin Authority. The approval was conveyed to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) by the (then) minister of Finance, according to the office of the AGF.

The payment was made into the accounts of the SRRBDA on March 9 but withdrawn in two tranches within a week, two months later in May.

The first withdrawal of N784m was made on 6th May, 2015. The second, N90m, was effected on 12th May 2015 but executed on 16th May 2015 by the CBN.

Only N874.6million was withdrawn by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from the account of SRRBDA because the agency had started spending the money.

The investigative hearing by the ad hoc committee was told how the CBN credited and reversed the payment on the directives of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).

The Committee, it was learnt, would request from the CBN records of tranfer and reversal of the money from the Natural Resources account and other accounts.

SRRBDA’s Managing Director (MD) Mukhtar Anka said the agency made an appeal to (then) President Jonathan, knowing that the agency had some outstanding funds with the Federal government, “Because all our previous budgets were never fully released since 2012.

Credit: Nation

SSS Seeks Transfer Of Nnamdi Kanu’s Case To Higher Court

The State Security Service on Monday asked an Abuja magistrate court to discontinue its case against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr. Kanu was arraigned for criminal conspiracy, engaging in unlawful society and criminal intimidation, which violate Section 97, 97B and 397 of the penal code.

The presiding magistrate, Usman Shuaibu, had issued an order for the bail of Mr. Kanu on the condition of presenting a surety of Grade Level 16 with a landed property in Garki or Wuse areas worth N20 million.

On resumption today, the prosecution counsel, Moses Idakwo, told the court the accused person was yet to fully meet the requirement for his bail.

He explained that the reason for Mr. Kanu’s continued detention in the custody of the SSS was his inability to fully meet the requirement for bail.

He told the court that although the service had confirmed the office of the surety presented by the accused, the location of the surety’s plot was yet to be ascertained.

Counsel to the defense, Vincent Obete, however informed the court about the affidavit before it, noting that the prosecution refused taking the necessary step to confirm the location of the surety’s plot of land.

Credit: PremiumTimes

Arsenal Transfer News: 4 Players Linked In Latest Rumors

With Lukas Podolski now an Inter Milan player for at least the rest of the season, Arsenal are expected to press ahead with their plans to add to their squad in the January transfer window. Podolski completed his loan move to the Italian giants on Monday, and it would be a surprise were that to be Arsenal’s last activity in the transfer market this month.

With injuries currently ruling out Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, manager Arsene Wenger recently stated that his priority was to reinforce his midfield. However, it appears that the Gunners will have to wait for a man long linked to the Emirates and who seemed ideally equipped to bring some much-needed steel to the side. Despite pushing for a transfer last summer, Morgan Schneiderlin has stated that he now expects to remain with Southampton for the remainder of the season.

Also thought to be interesting Tottenham, Schneiderlin has been a key part of Southampton’s impressive first half of the season that sees them riding high in fourth place in the Premier League. And he has suggested that he won’t be trying to force through an exit this month as he did in the last transfer window.

“It’s always difficult to leave in January,” he told French football show Téléfoot, according to the Daily Mail. “I think I’ll finish the season at Southampton and we’ll see what will happen next. I don’t set my mind on these things anymore. What should happen will happen. Since this summer, I learned that you should never think that you’re gone before you actually did.”

Arsenal have also suffered more than their fair share of injuries in defense, where the club’s options are already limited. With Laurent Koscielny and Mathieu Debuchy now fit, it remains to be seen whether Wenger still intends to sign a reinforcement, as he has previously suggested. If he does, he could again find that one of the club’s leading targets is unavailable until the summer. Among the center-backs most keenly linked with Arsenal has been West Ham’s Winston Reid. His manager Sam Allardyce has previously insisted that the New Zealand international won’t be going anywhere in January, although he now appears resigned to losing him when his contract expires at the end of the season.

“There is not future for Winston Reid at West Ham United at the moment,” Sam Allardyce said at a press conference on Monday. “The only future for Winston at the moment is that his contract finishes the 30th June. He hasn’t said that he is or he isn’t going to sign but you’d air on the back that he isn’t by the feel of it, by the look of it at this moment of time. So I’d say that its highly unlikely that Winston’s going to sign for us based on what people are saying to me.”

Certainly it now appears that Arsenal have some interest in Saint-Étienne center-back Loic Perrin. The 29-year-old was recently reported as something of a surprising target for the Gunners and he has confirmed that there has been an approach, although as yet not an official one.

“I was contacted personally. Arsenal are interested,” he told French publication Le Progres, reports the Daily Mirror. “But for now, there is still no contact with Saint-Etienne.”

The performance of Wojciech Szczesny in the 2-0 defeat to Southampton on New Year’s Day, when the goalkeeper was at least in part culpable for both goals, has led to further rumors that Wenger could be looking for a new signing between the posts. With Arsenal having only signed Colombia international David Ospina last summer that looks unlikely, especially with Chelsea now confirming that the most coveted goalkeeper around right now won’t be moving this month. Petr Cech has lost his place this season to Thibaut Courtois, but as third-choice goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer completed a transfer to Leicester City, Jose Mourinho stated that there was “no chance” that Cech would follow suit.