MTN Nigeria has refuted allegations and claims that it illegally took $8.1 billion out of the country between 2007 and 2015, after being ordered to issue a refund to the Central Bank of Nigeria, adding that it will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend its position on this matter and provide further information when available.
In a statement made available to eBusiness Life Magazine, MTN Nigeria explained that it 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,” the statement said.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian authorities first accused MTN of improper repatriation of money in 2016 when it probed the company on its compliance with foreign exchange laws. However, a report issued in November 2017 by Nigerian lawmakers concluded the company did not “collude to contravene the foreign exchange laws”.
Following the Central Bank’s refund order, MTN said “It is a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, 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.
The company further explained, “The issues surrounding the CCIs have already been the subject of a thorough inquiry 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 & 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.
The company says it will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend our position on this matter and provide further information when available.