Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating MTN Nigeria regarding the recent listing of the telecommunications company's shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). A letter was apparently sent to MTN Nigeria offices on 23 May 2019 by the EFCC requesting information regarding MTN Nigeria's IPO earlier in May 2019.

The listing on MTN Nigeria on the NSE was seen by many as the end of a troubled few years that the company has had with authorities in Nigeria. However, given the recent investigation by the country's EFCC, it seems the company is still on a collision course with authorities in Nigeria.

"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," reads part of a letter issued by MTN Nigeria on Saturday 25 May 2019.

There have been claims by some minority shareholders in MTN Nigeria that the whole listing is fraudulent. Part of their accusations involve:

  • inability to purchase MTN Nigeria shares since it listed on the NSE;
  • share price manipulation since the listing on 16 May 2019;
  • MTN Nigeria not meeting the free float of 20 per cent before listing.

“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,” said Sunny Nwosu, founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, when being interviewed by the News Agency of Nigeria.

Although the NSE has tried to clear the air and address concerns, publicly, regarding MTN Nigeria's listing, Nwosu believes they have set a bad precedent especially regarding allowing the company to list without meeting the free float requirements.