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Femi Otedola, Sue The House Of Reps For N1trn / How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn •ex-nitel Chief Tells Court / N1trn Projects Smuggled Into 2012 Budget As Foolish Nigerians Criticize Sanusi (1) (2) (3) (4)
|How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by dadde(m): 7:44am On May 14, 2012|
THE Federal High Court, Abuja has been told how telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria allegedly colluded with the leadership of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to defraud the nation of over N1 trillion, as well as engaging in systematic destruction of NITEL’s facility to the benefit of MTN.
Spilling the beans was Mr Solomon Ogundele, leader of the Nigerian team that drafted and prepared the first Interconnection Agreement with the Private Telecommunications Operators (PTOs) in Nigeria, including MTN.
Ogundele, former NITEL’s Principal Liaison Officer (PLO) to NCC between 1994 and 2000 made his claims and allegations on oath, by deposing to a 62-paragraph affidavit, filed at the court’s registry on May 9, 2012.
Ogundele, who retired as NITEL’s General Manager (Operations) also disclosed that the alleged corruptive tendency of MTN got to a point in 2005 that former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had to make official complaints to his South African counterpart, Thabo Mbeki.
Attaching press cuttings as evidence, he also stated that in 2006, the then Managing Director of NITEL, Albert Mashi held a press conference on how MTN was deliberately damaging NITEL’s cables, with the then MTN’s Nigerian boss and now Group Chief Executive Officer worldwide, Mr Sifiso Dabengwa, reportedly concurring and promising to pay N13 billion as damages which the deponent claimed was never paid.
Ogundele noted that he deposed to the affidavit to support the claim by former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, in his N150 billion suit that MTN engaged in unethical practices on the call logs of the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Isa Salami, as well as proving that the second defendant in the said suit, NCC, had allegedly been hands in gloves with MTN on the alleged nefarious activities.
Ogundele told the court that his petition over the alleged sleaze sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke, SAN and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2011, had been completely ignored by the addresses, though it was gathered that EFCC and ICPC might have commenced investigation on the basis of reminder letter sent to them.
|Re: How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by dadde(m): 7:45am On May 14, 2012|
Disclosing that the first Nigerian interconnectivity agreement was signed using South African law, Ogundele in his affidavit that “I led the team that prepared or drafted the first Interconnection Agreement with the Private Telecommunications Operators (PTOs) in Nigeria; based on South African Law, since Nigeria did not have appropriate legislation at the time. As the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited’s Principal Liaison Officer to NCC, I made available to it all information and specifications for installation of plants and equipment.
“NCC, with corruptive lobby from MTN and others unilaterally jettisoned the first Interconnection Agreement without reverting to the presidency that approved the 1997 Agreement. NCC completely abandoned the first Interconnection Agreement and opted for a new one which did not take the interest of NITEL into account. The Interconnection Agreement between the MTN, Vodacom and Telkom South Africa only gives discount to the parties to it. NCC does not allow discount to operate in Nigeria but rather allows the private telecommunications operators to use the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited’s facilities, free of charge.
“MTN is busy selling unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards and yet NCC has failed/refused/neglected to exercise its regulatory control over it. The corruptive tendency of MTN in Nigeria got to a point in 2005 that the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, had to report its activities in Nigeria to the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo reported MTN to Thabo Mbeki about the corruption of Nigeria’s polity through its policy of giving free recharge cards to members of Nigeria’s National Assembly.
“Apart from the condemnation of the criminal and unethical conduct of MTN by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2009, the then Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili, also had to issue a stern warning to the officers of the Ministry of Information and Communications and NCC officers to desist from collecting free recharge cards and toll free numbers from MTN.
|Re: How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by dadde(m): 7:45am On May 14, 2012|
“MTN participated in corruptly influencing NCC to change the existing Interconnection Agreement with a view to enabling MTN and others to use NITEL’s network and services free of charge. In 2006, Albert Mashi, the then Managing Director of Nigeria Telecommunications Limited did, at a press conference reported by ThisDay newspaper of 30th March, 2006, cry out that MTN was damaging NITEL’s Optic Fibre Cables. The said newspaper is hereby attached and marked Exhibit B.
“The estimated cost of the systematic, nationwide damage done to NITEL’s Fibre Optic Network by MTN was in the region of Thirteen Billion Naira (N13bn). This fact of deliberate destruction of NITEL’s infrastructure was brought to the attention of NCC with whose collusion, MTN has, till date, failed/refused/neglected to pay compensation to NITEL.
“The CEO of MTN at the time who supervised the systemically planned nationwide destruction of NITEL’s Fibre Optic Network, Sifiso R. Dabengwa was subsequently rewarded with his appointment as Group CEO MTN Group; obviously for a job well done.
“I was deeply involved in the interconnection issues by virtue of my former position as General Manager (Operations) of NITEL. MTN and NCC have, for many years, been working together jointly and have embarked on, and continue to engage in, activities radically inimical to the Nigerian economy and Nigerian interests and because of the dubious and anti-national-interests relationship that exists between them, any complaints, grievances, disputes or accusations against MTN directed, lodged, forwarded or submitted to NCC will not see the light of day or be acted upon by NCC”.
The deponent further added that “there was massive corruption in the telecommunications sector in Nigeria which diverted over one trillion naira (N1,000,000,000,000.00) of NITEL revenues to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and others. NCC deliberately and in collusion with MTN and others, introduced in Nigeria, a fraudulent Interconnection Agreement which allocated specific but excessive value to call termination as a means of perpetrating massive fraud and laundering NITEL’s revenues to MTN and others.
|Re: How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by dadde(m): 7:46am On May 14, 2012|
“The massive fraud in the telecommunications sector is embedded or inherent in the fraudulent Interconnection Agreements that NCC imposed on the telecommunications sector in collusion with MTN and others. The explosion and proliferation of GSM phone lines in Nigeria has led to the liquidation of NITEL because NCC ordered the unfettered use of NITEL’s highway; free of charge.
“At the inception of deregulation in the telecommunications industry in Nigeria, NITEL would have made more than One Trillion Naira for the Nigerian government. It could not make the aforementioned amount due to the fact that NCC did compromise its statutory and regulatory functions, role and control over it and others. NCC compromised its statutory and regulatory functions, role and control by fraudulently allowing MTN and others to use the telecommunications highway which only NITEL possessed at the inception of deregulation, free of charge.
“NCC has been colluding with MTN to ensure massive capital flight from Nigeria to South Africa with severe debilitating effect on the exchange rate of the Naira and the Nigerian economy as a whole. Its imposed, fraudulent Interconnection Agreement did divert the huge revenues that NITEL would have made on its telecommunications highways to MTN and others.
“The only legal licence MTN is holding in Nigeria is the GSM licence, which it paid for in 2001. Other operational licences held by it in Nigeria, including the 3G frequency spectrum and communications backbone licences are illegal by virtue of illicit exemptions, violation of the relevant provisions of the Public Procurement Act and fraudulent encroachment on the National Carrier Licences legally and validly issued to NITEL and Globacom Limited (GLO).
“To all intents and purposes, NCC has accorded MTN the status of a National Carrier, through the backdoor. To a large extent, MTN is essentially or substantially operating illegally in Nigeria and NCC has failed to exercise its statutory and regulatory control over it.
|Re: How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by dadde(m): 7:47am On May 14, 2012|
“Despite the fact that MTN has embarked on massive destruction of NITEL’s plants and equipment under the guise of expanding its network, NCC has failed/refused/neglected to exercise its statutory and regulatory control and NCC was so reckless in liquidating NITEL that it created the situation where NITEL has also been compelled to settle invoices of MTN and others running into several billions of Naira which NITEL cannot verify with its own internal data because NCC prevented NITEL from doing so.
“I know as a fact that NITEL was in compliance with the Federal Government Financial Regulations of keeping Call Data Records which are the basis for its revenues for ten years. In the absence of any other regulation abolishing this practice, MTN was expected to follow this precedent. I also came across a publication on the Internet where Business Wire claims and I believe them that MTN is using File Tek version of Storehouse software to provide secure archive repository for call data records (CDR) for a mandatory minimum of three years as demanded by South Africa’s Regulatory authorities. I am also aware that the European Union Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC requires telecommunications operators to store data relating to a wide range of customer activities for up to two years. The telecommunications industry in Nigeria has a cabal and MTN and NCC are prominent members of this telecommunications industry cabal”.
Meanwhile, both the MTN and NCC have asked the court to give them a week to reply to the allegations raised in the affidavit, while the court, presided over by Justice B.B Aliyu, adjourned till June 4, 2012, further hearing in the suit Oyinlola and the Peoples Democratic Party (Osun and Ekiti chapters), asking for the revocation of MTN’s licence, as well as N150bn damages, over allegations of improper corporate conduct.
At last Thursday’s proceedings, N20,000 cost was awarded against Oyinlola and PDP for filing out of time.
|Re: How MTN, NCC, Others Cheated Nigeria Of N1trn by zitoA: 4:49pm On Jun 20, 2012|
A week has turned to a month and nothing has happened. Do we have any house committee on Telecommunication? What is the minister in charge doing about this? . One trillion naira is equivalent to Nigeria's bugdet.
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