MTN Nigeria on Saturday said that it was being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
A statement posted on the exchange web site signed by MTN Nigeria Communications, Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah, confirmed the investigation.
The statement said the company received a letter on May 23 from EFCC requesting information and documentation related to the listing of our shares on the NSE.
“MTN Nigeria has not been accused of any wrongdoing by the EFCC.
“We wish to reiterate that we received all regulatory approvals required to list our shares on the NSE, as publicly confirmed by NSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
“As a law-abiding and responsible corporate citizen, we are cooperating fully with the authorities.
“We are committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” said the statement.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that there have been reports of scarcity of MTN’s shares after its listing, amid allegations of price manipulation.
Some minority shareholders had decried the inability of retail investors to have access to the shares since May 16 after the listing.
They accused capital market regulators of conniving with MTN Nigeria Communications to allegedly manipulate the performance of the share price at the exchange.
They said that the MTN Nigeria did not meet the free float of 20 per cent before listing.
Sunny Nwosu, founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, in an interview with NAN described the listing as “a fraudulent game.”
“Our conclusion as shareholders is that they have come to play us a game which is not far from fraudulent game, the nominal value of MTN shares is not certain.
“These are areas I think SEC should ask NSE questions rather than the issue of gifts sharing at AGMS and ban of pre-AGM.
“We are not certain of MTN, up till now no prospective shareholder can tell you this is what MTN Nigeria stands for,” Mr Nwosu said.
He said the exchange had set a bad precedent in the market by allowing some companies to list without meeting the free float requirement thereby creating a bad image.
But the NSE recently said that the total number of MTN shares in the hands of over 700 Nigerians, who are not promoters, controlling interests, directors, that were unbundled upon listing was about 1.8 billion.