Reps panel faults processes of imposition, reduction of MTN fine
•Chamber to review EFCC Act, establish special court
THE House Representatives on Communications mandated to weigh the implications of the fine imposed on telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria, has said the process was flawed, noting that the National Assembly, constitutionally saddled with the power to effect that, was excluded from the exercise.
The panel said the process leading to the reduction of the N1. 040,000,000 trillion ($5.2 billion) fine was not satisfactory.
Besides, the committee regretted that the fine as well as the accompanying error in the multiple reductions had dealt a huge blow to the country’s image in the comity of nations with move already being greeted with uncomplimentary remarks at international fora.
The panel also expressed reservations over the N6.2 billion budgeted for the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration exercise out of which the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said it spent about N3.5 billion.
The committee chairman, Saheed Fijabi (APC, Oyo) who expressed dismay over the “erroneous fine reduction,” said the development was an embarrassment to the country.
“Our observers may presume that we, as a nation either have no rules of engagement with regards to business operations or if we do, we may lack sincerity in our operations.
“It is embarrassing for instance to listen to what the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had to say concerning the present impasse.
“It is equally appalling to observe the conflict in figures with regards to the reduction of the fine and discussions making rounds concerning the action or inaction of the of the National Assembly”.
The committee also expressed its determination to unravel what informed the initial fine of over N1 trillion as well as those behind the reductions from 35 per cent to 25 per cent.
Meanwhile, the chamber hinted yesterday that it was considering review of the law establishing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and establishment of a special anti-corruption court in order for anti-graft agencies to speedily dispose of cases and have quality convictions.
Chairman, House Committee on Financial Crimes, Kayode Oladele made this commitment on behalf of the House while holding the 2015 budget defence session with the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and management of the commission.
While commending the commission for its ongoing investigation into the arms procurement scandal, Oladele decried the magnitude of the alleged looting by officials who were entrusted with responsibility to secure Nigerians.
Deputy chairman of the committee, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, in his remark, urged anti-graft agency to dispel the public insinuations that it was a tool of the ruling party for vendetta.
“Make EFCC the EFCC of everybody”, he charged.