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Why we moved Money out of Nigeria illegally – MTN Confesses

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At the commencement of investigative hearing into the alleged illegal repatriation of $13.9 billion out of the country by MTN yesterday, the company told the Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, that circumstances compelled it to move funds without observing the law.

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The Senate had on September 27, 2016, alleged that MTN in connivance with the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks exploited the porous Nigerian financial system to move the money out of the country without the required authorisation.

The upper legislative chamber according to a motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) on September 27, alleged that MTN smartly beat Nigeria’s financial regulatory laws by failing to obtain a certificate of capital importation (CCI) as authorised by CBN Financial and Miscellaneous Act within 24 hours between 2006 and 2016 before moving the money out of the country.

It further alleged that the repatriation was done through four banks, viz: Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank and Citi Bank.

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However, why MTN and other stakeholders, inluding the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Financial Regulation Council of Nigeria (FRCN), summoned by the committee to testify on the allegation stated their own sides of the story, Enelamah defied the committee’s directive not to leave before testifying as he instead walked out of the meeting venue before its commencement.

This resulted in insinuations by some individuals present at the meeting that the minister might have done so because he had something to hide moreso that he had earlier given excuses for his failure to appear before the committee on October 12.

However, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN, Fedi Moolman, admitted that the company moved funds without complying with the 24-hour order for the issuance of CCI, saying it was practically impossible to do so.

Nevertheless, he stated that the action was taken without any deliberate intention to flout Nigerian laws but was rather compelled to do so because of circumstances which he said made it impossible for it to observe the 24-hour provision in the Act for issuance of CCI.

He said: “There was no intention to flout the rule and regulation. The 24-hour rule is not in all cases practicable and it is almost impossible to comply with.”

The CEO further told the committee that MTN faced acute challenges when it got to Nigeria in 2000 as it found out that necessary facilities for business transactions were not available, a situation he said compelled it to import equipment to Nigeria.

He, however, attempted to justify his claim that MTN meant well for Nigeria through his submissions that MTN solely contributed 3.4 per cent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2006 and had since its advent in Nigeria employed 500,000 Nigerians directly and indirectly.

He also claimed that besides generating 80 per cent of the electricity it uses, MTN had committed N16 billion to various projects in Nigeria through its MTN Foundation and paid N1.6 trillion tax in 14 years. He further claimed that funds moved out of Nigeria were MTN’s dividends done in line with due process.

But Moolman’s submission was in contradiction to the presentation of Mr. Pascal Dozie, Chairman of Diamond Bank, who denied the allegation of illegal repatriation by MTN, arguing that MTN had invested $16 billion in Nigeria within 16 years.
He said the money imported to Nigeria was done in three tranches as he insisted that the allegation by the Senate “was completely false.”

According to him, when MTN came to Nigeria, it offered 40 per cent shares to Nigerians while it took the other 60 per cent only to find out that it was difficult to get Nigerians to invest 12 per cent of the 40 per cent offer. He added that MTN had to bring other investors before it could secure 25 per cent of the offer.

Dozie further said it was these Nigerians who constituted Celtelecom adding that a conversion of Celtelecom investment was done in 2007 through its bankers with CBN approval as he exonerated Enelamah, saying he was not a shareholder in MTN but only a director of Celtelecom and CEO of Capital Alliance which he said midwived the Celtelecom.

But Melaye countered him as he displayed a form signed by Enelamah on February 7, 2008 for repatriation of funds, with a CCI form attached the same day investment was said to have been made in Nigeria, as he queried: “Is it possible to invest in Nigeria same day and repatriate funds same day?”

Melaye also confronted Dozie and MTN CEO with evidences that whereas CCI was supposed to have been issued within 24 hours before repatriation, such CCIs were not issued until five years later as he dismissed Dozie’s claim that Nigerian laws were not flouted in the process. “The law says CCI should be issued in 24 hours but CCIs were issued five years after. Is that not a contravention?” he queried.

Melaye also said he had information that whereas CBN approved only 13 CCIs, Stanbic IBTC only had issued over 300 CCIs without containing the necessary information it ought to contain.
But CBN in its submission said it only approved CCIs beyond the 24-hour stipulation when it was obvious that banks could not issue the document within the stipulated time.

In his submission, Managing Director of Diamond Bank and son of Dozie, Uzoma, said the bank had issued some CCIs to MTN as he admitted that the bank had been involved in repatriation of funds by MTN but added that such repatriations were “carried out with appropriate documentation,” adding: “None was repatriated without genuine CCIs.”

Also speaking, the CEO of Stanbic IBTC, Olayinka Sani, who evaded questions directly put to him, said his bank was ready to co-operate with the committee in its investigation adding that it had represented MTN in various capacities since the company opened an account with the bank.

Also, the Managing Director of Citibank, Akin Daodu, said the bank had never been involved in any illegal repatriation of funds as he disclosed that Citibank had issued 46 CCIs on behalf of MTN so far.

But in view of Daodu’s claim, Melaye drew his attention to the document his bank had earlier submitted to the committee where it had stated that “MTN didn’t request for CCI’s to be issued until more than the 24 hours,” required to issue the CCIs. Against this background, he could no longer defend the claim he earlier made moreso that Melaye reminded him that he was making his submissions under oath.

In her own submission, the CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, Mrs. Yemi Owolabi, admitted that in most cases when they were contacted for issuance of CCIs by MTN, prevalent circumstances made such issuance impossible within the stipulated time frame.

According to her, such circumstances had always compelled the bank to contact the CBN to explain the difficult circumstances in which it found itself, pointing out that they only issued the documents after securing the go-ahead from the apex bank. “Until we get approval from CBN, we don’t issue CCI,” she added.

Towards the end of the meeting, Moolman reiterated that MTN had not claimed that it had complied with the 24-hour regulation for the issuance of CCI 100 per cent but explained that such developments were dictated by circumstances beyond its control.

At the end of the meeting, Chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, urged Dozie to educate Enelamah on how to behave as he warned the minister against getting on Senate’s nerves, insisting that if he thought he could dare the Senate, the parliament would be forced to invoke its power to force him to appear before the committee.

“We want you to advise him. For him to tell us that he couldn’t wait, I think he was being audacious against the Senate. We as senators expect him to engage the Senate in a more civilised way or else, we ‘ll be forced to invoke our powers,” Ibrahim threatened.

Enelamah had upon his arrival at the commencement of the event, approached the chairman and requested for his leave to attend another engagement which the chairman turned down. But the committee was shocked that Enelamah opted to dare the committee by walking away.

While senators perceived Enelamah’s action to be insolent, some of the individuals present alleged that the minister might have deliberately opted to avoid making submissions before the committee.
However, Enelamah has reiterated that he is not involved in any wrong-doing, with regard to the MTN saga.
According to a statement from the minister’s office last night and signed by the Director of Press, Greene Anosike, the minister said:

“Enelamah served as CEO of Capital Alliance Nigeria Ltd (CANL) between 1998 and 2015. CANL is a wholly owned subsidiary of African Captial Alliance (ACA), an Africa focused private equity firm with investments in carefully selected companies within and outside Nigeria, including MTN Nigeria

“A fund managed by ACA, alongside other minority shareholders, invested in MTN Nigeria through Celtelecom. Enelamah was never the ‘owner’ of Celtelecom, neither was he ever a Celtelecom shareholder. Instead, he was a director of the company representing the ACA Managed fund.

“Investors do not have responsibility for remittance of proceeds from the company they are invested in. Therefore, at no time was Enelamah in a position to transfer funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria, and at no time did he transfer any funds out of Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria. As it relates to Celtelecom’s investment in MTN Nigeria, it is important to note that the entire process for applying for and using Certificate of Capital Importation (CCIs) was done by MTN Nigeria.
“All the allegations against the minister therefore, are baseless and without merit.”

 

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Realtormax Announces Sallah Promo, Other Developments

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Realtormax Announces Sallah Promo, Other Developments

 

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Dr. Michael Adeyemi, CEO of Realtormax International Nigeria Limited, said the company will offer various incentives to customers who buy land from any of its two top real estate property – Urbanmax Estate, Obafemi Owode, Ogun State and Aje – The Wealthy Residence, Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, ahead of the Id el kabir Sallah celebrations in June.

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He noted that the exciting offers began on Monday.

Dr Adeyemi explained that while a limited-time 50% discount applies for every purchase at Aje – The Wealthy Residence, household items such as ram, rice, groundnut oil, noodles, and semovita would be available on Urbanmax Estate purchase.

According to him, the gesture was designed to reward Muslim clients and others ahead of the Sallah celebrations.

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The CEO also listed other developments in the company to include installment payments options, partners appraisals event, official launch of Urbanmax Estate in October and Lagos office relocation.

He further restated the real estate firm’s commitment to building sustainable, eco-friendly cities across Africa, adding that it was poised to deliver on its promises and exceed expectations.

Urbanmax Promo
As the Ileya festival approaches, Realtormax introduces the Urbanmax Promo, a gesture of appreciation to Muslim clients. Special offers include household items such as rice, groundnut oil, noodles, semovita, and rams, alongside a 15% commission for realtors and exciting prizes.

The official launch of Urbanmax, the Dream City, is scheduled for October 26th, offering a luxurious blend of lifestyle and serenity at an unbeatable price. Urbanmax currently sells at 1.3 million Naira, which includes survey and deed of assignment. However, post-launch, the price will rise to 2.5 million Naira or more.

Aje – The Wealthy Residence
Realtors are invited to an exclusive inspection of Aje – The Wealthy Residence, followed by the allocation of plots to clients on June 29. With a limited-time offer of 50% discount for the Ileya festival, clients can secure a piece of Aje for just N16 million Naira, inclusive of documentation.

Installment Payments
Realtormax offers opportunities for 3-month, 6-month, and 1-year payment plans and urges clients to prioritise monthly installment payments to avoid penalties and ensure smooth project execution.

Office Relocation
Following a recent fire incident at the Allen office, Realtormax is relocating its head office. Details of the new address will be announced soon, reflecting the company’s resilience and commitment to its vision.

Realtors Appraisal
An upcoming Realtors (partners) Appraisal promises to recognise and reward hard work, coinciding with the grand opening of the new office.

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FIRSTBANK’S FIRSTADVANCE – FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT FOR GOOD REASONS

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FIRSTBANK’S FIRSTADVANCE – FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT FOR GOOD REASONS

Ade is a hardworking father in Lagos. Recently, fate dealt him a heavy blow when his young son, Tunde, fell scarily ill. Tunde’s illness struck suddenly, sending shockwaves through Ade’s world. As he watched his son grow weaker on a hospital bed with each passing hour, Ade felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness. The medical bills pushed to him only added to his despair, threatening to drown him. Ade found himself grappling not only with the fear of losing his beloved son but also with the burden of financial strain.

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Desperate, Ade turned to FirstAdvance, a lifeline in his time of need. With its swift and convenient loan service, Ade was able to access the funds he so desperately required to pay for Tunde’s medical bills. Amid his darkest hour, FirstAdvance offered that lifeline, the ray of light that pierced through his despair.

Slowly but surely, Tunde improved; his emaciated body grew stronger with each passing day. And as he watched his son’s health gradually return, Ade knew that FirstAdvance had not only helped save Tunde’s life but had also given him permanent hope in times of financial challenges.

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In diverse situations of need, a growing number of FirstBank account holders are finding solace in FirstAdvance, and for good reason – financial empowerment.

In the dynamic landscape of finance, digital lending has emerged as a vital tool for economic empowerment, especially in developing economies. Recognising this, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a pioneer in financial inclusion services, has introduced FirstAdvance, a groundbreaking digital lending solution aimed at providing convenient and swift access to cash for salary earners awaiting payment of their salaries.

FirstAdvance caters to the needs of salary earners whose accounts are domiciled with FirstBank and have received regular salaries for the past two months or more. This innovative product ensures quick access to funds with maximum amounts varying based on the chosen variant. For the 30-day variant, customers can access up to 50% of their net monthly income, with a maximum limit of N1,000,000, while the 3-month variant allows for up to N2,000,000, subject to 75% of the net monthly salary.

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The process of availing FirstAdvance is seamless and can be initiated via the bank’s digital channels, either by dialing *894*11# and selecting FirstAdvance on USSD or through the user-friendly FirstMobile App. What sets FirstAdvance apart is its user-centric features such as:

Swift Processing: With FirstAdvance, obtaining a loan is as quick as a minute, ensuring timely assistance during financial emergencies.

Flexible Tenor: Customers can choose between a 30-day or 3-month repayment period, aligning with their pay cycle for added convenience.

Transparent Fees: FirstBank ensures transparency by collecting all fees, including interest rates, upfront upon loan disbursement, empowering customers with clarity and predictability in their financial transactions.

Automated Risk Acceptance: The Risk Acceptance Criteria for FirstAdvance is automated, streamlining the process and ensuring fair assessment without unnecessary delays.

Continuous Support: Beyond FirstAdvance, FirstBank extends its support to customers across all income bands with offers like Personal Loan Against Salary (PLAS), providing long-term loan solutions with convenient repayment plans of up to 60 months. The maximum amount a customer can get on PLAS is N100m.

Since its inception, FirstAdvance has witnessed remarkable success, with over 450 thousand unique customers benefiting from over 9.4 million successful transactions, totaling over 225 billion naira in disbursed loans.

Although digital lending has become ubiquitous, FirstAdvance stands out to be among the most competitive in the industry.

In an era marked by digital transformation, FirstBank remains at the forefront, leveraging technology to deepen financial inclusion and empower individuals and households across Nigeria. Whether it’s addressing immediate financial needs or providing long-term financial solutions, FirstBank continues to be a trusted partner in the journey toward economic prosperity.

For salary account holders with FirstBank seeking quick and hassle-free access to loans, FirstAdvance stands as a reliable solution. Dial *894*11# or initiate your loan request via the FirstMobile App today and transform your financial goals into reality with FirstBank.

In times like these, when inflation is eroding Nigerians’ wealth daily, there will always be an increasing need for that lifeline. FirstAdvance, powered by FirstBank, stands ready to continually meet its customers’ financial needs during that time of need, literally within one minute.

Culled from Nairametrics.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

 

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Travelers at Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) can now enjoy a new level of comfort and convenience with the launch of Altclub by The Alternative Bank.

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AltClub Changes Travel Experience At Lagos Airport

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The innovative premium space offers a luxurious retreat where passengers can relax and recharge before their flights, while also catering to their basic banking needs.

Altclub, an arm of The Alternative Bank’s digital travel financing product, Alttravel, is dedicated to enhancing travel accessibility and ease for Nigerians.

Alttravel operates a “Travel Now, Pay Later” system, eliminating the need for upfront payments and offering maximum flexibility. With zero initial deposit and impressively low mark-up rates over a flexible six-month tenor, travelers can achieve their travel goals with financial peace of mind.

Mohammed Yunusa, Director of Digital Business and Innovations at The Alternative Bank, highlighted the significance of Altclub at the launch event. “Altclub isn’t just a lounge; it’s a sanctuary of comfort and convenience,” Yunusa stated. “Gone are the days of sacrificing relaxation for travel formalities. Our lounge offers a luxurious space where travelers can unwind and rejuvenate before their flights, free from the typical travel stress.”

In addition to offering a tranquil environment for relaxation, Altclub provides a range of amenities to cater to travelers’ needs, including refreshments, high-speed Wi-Fi, and charging stations for electronic devices. Yunusa added that Concierge services are also available to assist with travel arrangements, ensuring guests have everything they need for a comfortable journey.

Joining Yunusa in addressing the guests, Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Executive Director of Sales at The Alternative Bank, elaborated on the lounge’s accessibility. ”

Altclub is exclusively available to The Alternative Bank customers, showcasing our commitment to their comfort and convenience. Present your boarding pass and proof of Altbank membership at the entrance, and our dedicated staff will ensure a seamless and enjoyable pre-flight experience.”

Korede emphasised the unique opportunity for travelers to plan their next trip directly from the lounge. “Through Alttravel, our digital travel financing product, customers can explore various destinations and book flights with flexible financing options. Altclub provides a convenient platform for travelers to access financing and make their travel aspirations a reality, reinforcing our dedication to enhancing the travel experience for our valued customers.”

Altclub is committed to offering an inclusive and welcoming environment for all travelers, whether on business or a leisure getaway.

The grand opening of Altclub on May 22, 2024, was attended by prominent figures from the travel industry and local dignitaries, highlighting the importance of this milestone in enhancing the travel experience for passengers at MMA2 Airport.

About The Alternative Bank:
The Alternative Bank commenced its journey in January 2014 with a vision to create a dynamic banking experience that respects individuality and speaks the language of its customers. In July 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria issued a Banking License to The Alternative Bank, enabling it to operate as a fully-fledged, standalone bank. Guided by its Advisory Committee of Experts (ACE), The Alternative Bank ensures all its operations align with the ethics of Non-Interest Banking.

//Ends

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