The Senate has announced the engagement of international forensic experts to probe the involvement of Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, Diamond Bank and IBTC Bank, among others in a case of alleged repatriation of $13.9 billion by telecoms giant, MTN.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, *Sen. Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim (APC, Kwara South)* disclosed this at a news briefing in Abuja on Wednesday.
Others named in the alleged fraud which borders on money laundering, include Mallam Ahmed Dasuki, Col. Sani Bello, Dr. Paschal Dozie former Chairman of Diamond Bank, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Gbenga Oyebode and Dr. Victor Odili.
Senator Rafiu said the experts drawn from Law and Accounting had already arrived Nigeria and were already working in concert with some local forensic experts to probe the documents submitted by organizations and individuals invited.
He said because the period of the alleged fraud spans 16 years and having secured the approval of the Senate leadership, the probe is “not going to be a normal periphery investigation because it involves a lot of documents.
“We will be starting the investigative hearing tomorrow, Thursday 20th October, 2016, we will listen to each one of them and we will take it from there.
“MTN has submitted and they promised to attend, Diamond Bank has submitted, Standard Chartered Bank has submitted and they promised to attend, Stanbic has submitted and they promised to attend.
“Mallam Ahmed Dasuki has no submission yet, Col. Sani Bello: no submission but we are expecting them tomorrow.”
Speaking at the briefing, Sen. Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) who moved the motion on the alleged fraud expressed excitement at the turn of events.
“I am particularly excited that the Senate had engaged forensic auditors who also double as lawyers and who have already commenced work,” he said, adding: “I can tell you that even preliminary investigations have revealed that the $13.9 billion is far lower to what the outcome will look like.
“We have realised from these preliminary investigations that it is actually outrageously higher than the $13.9 billion. This committee has shown a lot of sincerity in their approach and I am very confident in the committee and the Nigerian Senate in investigating this matter.
“I want to assure Nigerians that the Senate will get to the bottom of this and at the end of the day this money must be returned to our Foreign Reserves.”