ActionAid Nigeria demands ICPC, FG to investigate MTN Nigeria’s controversial Board appointment

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By Palma Ileye

ActionAid Nigeria, AAN, has strongly condemned MTN Nigeria, the prominent telecommunications company, for its controversial board appointments.

This is contained in a press release issued by ActionAid Nigeria.

The statement read in part: “The inclusion of former government officials with regulatory, pensions and taxation authorities has sparked concern about its transparency, accountability, and ethical governance.”

Speaking in Abuja, AAN’s Country Director, Andrew Mamedu, stated that, “The appointments of former government officials which includes Ernest Ndukwe, former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Ifueko M. Omoigui Okauru, former Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Omobola Johnson, Nigeria’s former Minister of Communication Technology and Mr. MK. Ahmad, the pioneer Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Pension Commission, raise serious concerns about corporate governance, regulatory capture, and conflicts of interest.

It stated, “It is unacceptable that MTN Nigeria, a company entrusted with providing essential telecommunications services to millions of Nigerians, would choose to stack its board with individuals who have a history of regulatory oversight, pensions, and taxation authorities.

“This move raises serious concerns about the potential for backdoor negotiations and conflicts of interest, as well as the impact on the Nigerian community. By allowing former government officials who were supposed to regulate MTN Nigeria to occupy top positions on its board, there is a risk of regulatory capture and undue influence over regulatory decisions. This not only undermines the integrity of our institutions but also jeopardizes the interests of consumers, investors, and shareholders.

“ActionAid Nigeria demands that MTN Nigeria must immediately reconsider its board appointments and ensure that future appointments are made in a transparent and accountable manner, with due consideration given to the principles of diversity, independence, and expertise.

“Furthermore, we urge the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate these appointments and take appropriate action to hold MTN Nigeria accountable for any breaches of regulatory standards or corporate governance norms.”

AAN also demanded that: “The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, launch an investigation into the circumstances surrounding MTN Nigeria’s board appointments to determine whether there have been any acts of corruption, regulatory capture, or abuse of power.

“This investigation must include examining the selection process, evaluating potential conflicts of interest, and scrutinising any undue influence exerted by former government officials.

“The Federal Government must also launch an independent investigation into MTN Nigeria’s board appointments to determine the extent of regulatory capture and conflicts of interest; strengthen regulatory oversight of the telecommunications sector to prevent the undue influence of corporate interests on regulatory agencies; and impose penalties or sanctions on MTN Nigeria if it is found to have violated regulatory standards or corporate governance norms.

“The actions of the Federal Government and ICPC must send a clear message that it will not tolerate corporate misconduct or abuse of power, especially when it comes to companies that play such a crucial role in Nigeria’s economic development and social progress.

“Mamedu reiterated that ‘ICPC cannot stand idly by while corporations like MTN Nigeria undermine the integrity of our institutions and exploit regulatory loopholes for their own benefit. It is time for MTN Nigeria to recognise that its actions have real consequences for the people of Nigeria, particularly investors and the integrity of the country’s institutions. We urge MTN Nigeria to act swiftly and decisively to address these concerns and restore public trust in its operations.'”