MTN in new $8.1 billion standoff with Nigerian central banker
August 31,2018 – MTN Nigeria has denied any improper repatriation of funds, after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered the return of USD 8.1 billion it alleges the operator illegally moved out of the country.
MTN said it received a letter on 29 August from CBN, alleging that Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders loans in MTN Nigeria to preference shares in 2007 had been improperly issued. As a consequence, it claims that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 amounting to USD 8.1 billion need to be refunded to the CBN.
The mobile operator said no dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by its bankers and with the approval of the CBN, as required by law.
MTN said the issues surrounding the CCIs have already been the subject of a thorough enquiry by the Senate of Nigeria. In September 2016 the Senate mandated the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out an investigation on compliance with the Foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous) Act by MTN Nigeria & Others.
In its report issued in November 2017, it found that MTN Nigeria did not collude to contravene forex laws, and there were no negative recommendations made against the mobile company.
MTN Nigeria said the re-emergence of these issues is regrettable, as it damages investor confidence and inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy. MTN said it will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend its position on this matter and give more information when available.
Shareholders are accordingly advised to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement is made.
Sourced from Telecompaper