It has been reported that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has issued an order for the Special Investigation Panel of the Nigerian Police Force to investigate his chief of staff, Alhaji Abba Kyari, over allegations of bribery.
According to Vanguard, the investigation is linked to an alleged N500 million bribery money said to have been paid to the Chief of Staff by officials of South African owned Telecommunications Company, MTN, in order for him to influence government to have a change of mind on its position over the $5 billion fine imposed on the company.
Recall that the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, slammed a $5 billion fine on MTN for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered phone lines bought before January 2012, a disobedience believed to have facilitated activities of terrorists and kidnapping kingpins who perpetrated several of their murderous and nefarious acts that proved costly to the nation.
However, after several failed attempts by the telecommunications giant to fight the huge fine imposition, firstly through the courts and after through diplomatic means, an online media (Sahara Reporters) published a report on 20th September 2016, saying that MTN officials gave a bribe of N500 million to Alhaji Abba Kyari, in order that he might use his closeness to President Buhari to influence the federal government decision in their favour.
The Presidency, worried by the claim, is said to have directed the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris to open an investigation into the matter and come out with findings regarding the accusation.
Unfortunately however, a source close to the investigation panel who spoke under condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak on the matter, revealed that days after the investigation began, efforts to get Sahara reporters to come forward and present evidence of the N500 million bribe; when it was given, where and how the money was collected have all failed and the fact that the online medium is based in the United States makes it more frustrating.
The source said:
“Officials of MTN, who were invited and interviewed over the allegation, have vehemently denied that any such money emanated from the telecommunication company and that since the beginning of the $5 billion fine saga, nobody had been approached for a bribe.
“Another thing is that if such volume of money was paid through the banks, discreet investigation of financial dealings on the part of MTN and on the part of the COS has so far not revealed any transactions of such.”
There are indications that the team of Police Investigators handling the case may conclude the report of the allegation soon if the grace period it has given the online media organisation ends and they still do not provide evidence to support the allegation.