President Buhari’s Chief of Staff writes EFCC, ICPC over alleged MTN N500m bribe

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It was gathered that The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, has reportedly written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over allegations that he received N500million bribe to influence reduction of the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on the South African owned Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN).

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had imposed the N1.04 trillion fine on MTN in October 2015 after the operator failed to disconnect about 5.1million subscribers it registered improperly on its network. In a twist of events, the fine against MTN was last year reduced to N330billion allowing the operator to make staggered payment till May 31, 2019.

By the terms of the agreement, MTN is expected to pay N30billion to the NCC 30 days from the date the agreement was entered into on June 10, 2016. MTN is also expected to pay N30billion to the NCC on March 31, 2017 and another N30billion on March 31, 2018. It is also to pay additional N55billion on December 31, 2018 and a balance of N55billion is expected to be paid on March 31, 2019.

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Media reports, however, indicate that Abba Kyari may have allegedly played a key role in influencing the reduction of the fine and its staggered payment after receiving a bribe of N500million.

A competent presidency source confirmed yesterday that Kyari who is disturbed over the bribery allegation has vowed to take every step in order to exonerate himself. President Buhari is said to have received concrete evidence against Kyari over the bribery case.

The presidency source said that the Chief of Staff has also written to MTN detailing what he knows about the fine imposed against the telecommunication firm while raising concerns if his indictment may have come from the operator.

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“Chief has actually written to these organisations and the idea is to clear his name,” the source noted.

But, the management of MTN has since denied it paid bribe for the reduction of the N1.04trillion fine slammed against it by the NCC.

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