Multinational telecom service providers, MTN, has reacted to the order by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) directing it to refund $8bn over some violations of the Federal Government provision, saying that it will engage relevant authorities to defend its position.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on Wednesday, slammed a fine of N5.8 billion on four Nigerian banks namely Citibank, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered bank and Stanbic-IBTC, for allegedly issuing irregular certificates of capital importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.
The apex bank also ordered MTN to refund the $8.1 billion for what it termed illegal repatriation of funds.
[penci_blockquote style=”style-2″ align=”none” author=””]“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. [/penci_blockquote]
Reacting to the development in a statement, MTN said, ‘we will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend our position on this matter and provide further information when available’.
Parts of MTN statement read: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) correspondence regarding Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) in Nigeria
“MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) received a letter on 29 August 2018 from CBN alleging that 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.
“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.
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“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 a holistic investigation on compliance with the Foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous) Act by MTN Nigeria and Others.
“In its report issued in November 2017, the findings evidenced that MTN Nigeria did not collude to contravene the foreign exchange laws and 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 abiding 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”