A Nigerian Lawmaker Has Accused MTN of ‘Illegally’ Moving $13.92 Billion From Country

MTN Group Ltd. has been accused by a Nigerian lawmaker of transferring $13.92 billion out of country “illegally,” a move that could reignite a conflict between Africa’s largest wireless operator by sales and the government in its biggest market.

The motion was proposed under the Unscrupulous Violation of the Foreign Exchange Act by Senator Dino Melaye, Tuesday’s Senate order of the day shows. “The Senate notes with serious concern the repatriation of $13.92 billion illegally out of Nigeria by MTN,” it said.

A spokesman for Johannesburg-based MTN wasn’t immediately available to comment.

The shares fell as much as 4.4 percent, what would be the biggest fall on a closing basis since June 27, and traded 2.8 percent lower at 120.50 rand as of 1:06 p.m. in Johannesburg.

The accusation comes a little over three months after MTN agreed to pay a 330 billion naira ($1 billion) fine in cash to the Nigerian government and list its local unit on the country’s stock exchange after about eight months of negotiations. The penalty was levied for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million customers unregistered in the country.