10 September 2018

Nigeria: MTN Takes CBN, Attorney General to Court Over Alleged Forex Repatriation, Tax Arrears

Photo: The Guardian
MTN Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria has taken the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to court over their investigations into the telecom company's CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.

The telecom giant, which filed the suit at the Federal High Court of Nigeria on Monday, is seeking for injunctive relief restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders.

In a statement signed by the Public Relations Manager of MTN Nigeria, Funso Aina, the company said it took the step to protect its assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law, "while we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on these matters."

Speaking on the issue, MTN Nigeria's Corporate Relations Executive, Tobe Okigbo said: "The allegations being made involve issues that appear to be complex and so are easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. They are made even more confusing when the relevant authorities send conflicting messages and instructions and act in a way that appears un-coordinated and at cross purposes.

"The simple reality is that MTN Nigeria has never repatriated dividends on the CCIs referenced by the CBN and that MTN is fully compliant with Nigerian tax law.

"With situations like this, it is vital for both the government, regulators and the company to have absolute clarity on the nature of both the allegations being made and the processes that are being followed.

"In the absence of this clarity, our only option is to seek judicial intervention and to ask the courts to act as adjudicator. This has been done today."

It will be recalled that the CBN recently alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria and requested that $8.1 billion be returned "to the coffers of the CBN" whilst the AGF has alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and that approximately $2.0 billion in relation to these taxes be paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria (and now directed that the payment of the $8.1 billion is dealt with through his office rather than as directed by the CBN).

The telco has denied these allegations and claims.

"MTN remains fully committed to Nigeria and remains resolute that the company has not committed any offences and will continue to defend its position vigorously.

"The company will continue engaging with the relevant authorities, and further information will be provided as and when available," the statement added.

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