The dust raised over the alleged bribery scandal involving the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and the telecommunication giant, MTN, is yet to settle.
The media was agog penultimate week over the allegation that Kyari collected N500 million from the telecoms giants in order to help reduce their fine from N1.04 trillion to N330 billion for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
However, the President’s Chief of Staff reportedly wrote to the director of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Inspector General of Police to investigate him over reports that he received a bribe from MTN.
He was also said to have written the Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Pascal Dozie, requesting that the allegation be confirmed or denied because the company was specifically mentioned.
MTN subsequently denied the report, but nothing has been heard from the chief of staff who has been at the centre of public scrutiny for corruption since the allegation was made.
In another twist, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has also refuted an allegations that the MTN bribed some officials of the Commission to get a reduction in a fine leveled against it.
Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau at the NCC, Abdullahi Maikano, debunked the allegation at a Customers’ Town Hall Meeting in Effurun, Delta state.
He said no staff of the Commission had taken bribe, explaining that MTN settled a part of the fine in bulk and agreed to pay the remaining part in instalments, stressing that “no NCC staff will ever take bribe.”
In copies of the letters, which were all written in September and seen by an on-line newspaper, TheCable, Kyari asked the DSS and the police to investigate claims that he received “payment or payments” from MTN “for the purpose of mitigating the fine imposed by the NCC”.
The specific nature of the allegation requires investigation, he further wrote.
Kyari attached a printed copy of the online reports to his letters.
It was understood that the security agencies have commenced investigation.
Reports had suggested that it was President Muhammadu Buhari that ordered an investigation of Kyari, but a presidency official said that the Chief of Staff believes he has nothing to hide, hence his decision to write to the security agencies by himself.
“The chief of staff is not a fan of media wars. He doesn’t believe in rejoinders and that is why I am showing you copies of his letters,” the official, who chose not to be named, told the on-line newspaper.
“Malam Kyari always says as a former editor himself, he knows the difference between investigative journalism and planted stories. The stories in the media are planted. They are not as a result of any rigorous investigation.
“He expects more stories to be planted in the media as people struggle to gain the attention of the President. They think Malam Kyari is their problem and if they can take him out, then there will be free passage. Let’s see how far they can go.”
The source also said Kyari knew nothing about how the MTN fine was reduced.
“To the best of my knowledge, Malam was actually against the fine being reduced. But a committee set up to look into the issue recommended a reduction. Malam was not a member of the committee and he was not the one that approved it”, the official said.
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