Nigeria: MTN Sues CBN, AGF Over Alleged $10.1b Infractions

MTN Nigeria.
11 September 2018

Telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria, has headed for the court over the alleged $10.1 billion financial malfeasance levelled against it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

The apex bank had asked MTN to refund $8.1 billion, said to have been illegally repatriated through four banks, while the AGF, on the hand, wants the firm to offset $2 billion unpaid taxes and arrears incurred in the last one decade.

In a statement yesterday by its Public Relations Manager, Funso Aina, the telecoms company said it went to court to protect its assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law."We have applied today (yesterday) at the Federal High Court of Nigeria for injunctive relief, restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders, while we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on these matters," the firm said.

MTN insisted that it would continue to refute all charges related to investigations by the defendants into the company's Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) and unpaid taxes.

But at the ongoing International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Telecoms World 2018 in far away Durban, South Africa, MTN Group's Chief Executive Officer, Rob Shuter, said the current travails notwithstanding, the telecoms firm remains law-abiding, stating: "We are committed to Nigeria. We shall do everything possible to resolve the matter."

Shuter, who said MTN understands the peculiarity of the Nigerian market, noted: "The last two weeks have been very tough. I mean challenging. But being the largest market, we are working towards having an amicable solution to the issues. It is a crucial market."He explained that the group operates in 22 countries across Africa and Asia with over 55 million active subscribers in Nigeria.

MTN Nigeria's Corporate Relations Executive, Tobe Okigbo, noted: "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 uncoordinated and at cross purposes."The simple reality is that MTN Nigeria has never repatriated dividends on the Certificates of Capital Importation referenced by the CBN and the company is fully compliant with Nigerian tax law."

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