By Bankole Wright
Etisalat Nigeria has said it is not being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement signed by Ibrahim Dikko, Etisalat vice-president of corporate affairs, the company said it has paid about 42 percent of its original loan, taken from a consortium of banks.
“The attention of Etisalat Nigeria has been drawn to media reports that the management of Etisalat Nigeria is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),
following a petition to ‘the Federal Government asking that Etisalat be investigated’ on how the funds from the syndicated loans were utilized.
“Etisalat wishes to categorically affirm for the avoidance of doubt that the reports are patently false and most unfortunate considering the damage such misleading information can have not only on our business, but indeed on the telecommunications industry and the country as a whole.
“Concerned parties have access to our books and do not require an investigation into how the loan sum was utilized. All of the in frastructure investment and services for which the loan was secured,were paid through our banks and these are verifiable.”
Etisalat added that “it would be recalled that the $1.2bn loan, a medium-term seven-year facility, was obtained by Etisalat Nigeria for the purpose of expanding its network and improving the quality of service on its network”.
“The economic downturn of 2015 and sharp devaluations of the naira negatively impacted on the dollar-denominated loan by driving up the loan value, thus prompting Etisalat to request a loan restructuring from the consortium of banks.
“Contrary to the widely reported misrepresentations about Etisalat Nigeria’s debt obligation to the consortium of 13 banks, it has become pertinent to set the records straight. Prior to this time, Etisalat had in fact consistently and conscientiously met up with its payment obligations.
“As at today, we can categorically state that the outstanding loan sum to the consortium stands at $227m and N113bn, a total of about $574m if the naira portion is converted to US Dollars.
“This in essence means almost half of the original loan of $1.2bn, has been repaid. Etisalat continued
to service the loan up until February 2017, when discussions with the banks regarding the repayment restructuring commenced.”