MTN faults CBN on illegal repatriation of $8.1bn

MTN Nigeria, yesterday faulted the Central Bank of Nigeria over claims that it connived with four Nigerian banks to repatriate $8.1billion from its Nigerian operations to offshore investors.
“MTN Nigeria strongly refutes these allegations and claims.
No dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law,” Public Relations Manager, Corporate Affairs/Corporate Relations MTN, Mr. Funso Aina, , has said in a statement issued in Abuja.
In its claims, the apex bank said the remittances between 2007 and 2015, made in tranches of 2.63 billion dollars, $1.766 billion and $348 million, were done in flagrant violation of the ‘Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs)’ issued by the CBN.
The CBN also accused the MTN of the act having illegally converted shareholders’ loan of $399, 594,146 to preference shares.
And as a punitive measure, the CBN sanctioned four banks including; Standard Chartered ,Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc.
While Standard Chartered Bank was fined N2.47 billion, Stanbic IBTC, N1.88 billion, and Citibank Nigeria, N1.26 billion, the Diamond bank will cough out N250 million.
Making a clarification in a statement however, Aina said, “MTN Nigeria received a letter on Aug 29 from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) alleging that Certificate of Capital Important (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 they claim that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 amounting to $8.1 billion need to be refunded to the CBN.
The company spokesman recalled that in September 2016, the Senate mandated the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out a holistic investigation on compliance with the Foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous) Act by MTN Nigeria & Others.
According to Aina, in its report issued in November 2017, the Senate’s findings revealed that MTN Nigeria did not collude to contravene the foreign exchange laws, and that there were no negative recommendations made against MTN Nigeria.
“MTN Nigeria, as a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, is committed to good governance and to abide by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The re-emergence of these issues is regrettable as it damages investor confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
“We will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend our position on this matter and provide further information when available,” the statement further added.

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