Mallam Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to President Mohammadu Buhari, is stalling the probe of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, alleged share manipulation few days after the Telco listed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, a source familiar with the investigations said.
Few days after it listed on the NSE, top shareholders made almost $8billion under a free float accommodation from NSE but what insiders considered a “massive manipulation.”
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, last week raided the head office of MTN Nigeria in Falomo, Lagos, and carted away documents related to its recent share listing.
Soon after investigators seized documents at the Lagos office of MTN, sources told pointblanknews.com that top leadership of the Telco reached out to Kyari, requesting he prevails on the anti-graft agency to back-down.
Sources also said that while preliminary investigations confirmed manipulation and “serious infractions that are not healthy for the economy of Nigeria,” Kyari is putting pressure on investigators to stop the probe.
According to the source who is privy to the on-going investigations but prefers to be anonymous, information on how the manipulations were carried out have already been uncovered by the ant-graft agency.
“As soon as the allegations and petitions were received, the EFCC swiftly moved in to forestall any tampering and raided the whole MTN office, collected vital documents, searched computers and other devices.
“From preliminary findings, how the share manipulations were carried out have been discovered.”
The source confirmed that the illegality carried out by MTN has the backing of Kyari who once collected N500million bribe from the Telco to help mitigate fines imposed on them by the Federal Government for
According to the source, “MTN enjoys a lot of support and backing from the Chief of Staff to the Presidency. They quickly ran to him as soon as the probe started, and he has been moving around trying to have the investigation stop.”
MTN had on May 16, listed its shares on the NSE by way of an introductory listing. Sources told Pointblanknews.com that even under a free float accommodation, at least five percent of the shares should have been made available to all investors as was the case when Dangote Group listed with the NSE.
“But they didn’t do that. They went ahead, manipulated the shares to drive up price of the stock before any offering through IPO. This is a crime and those involved would have to face the law. They cannot do what they did in South Africa and so Nigeria will not tolerate such either,” the source said.
Spokesman of the EFCC could not be reached for comment as he did not respond to calls and text messages.