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11 September 2018

$10.1b cash demand: MTN takes CBN, AGF to court

Mobile giant MTN Nigeria has taken its battle of integrity to the court.

It has urged the Federal High Court to restrain the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from enforcing their orders that the telco should refund $8.1 billion and $2 billon to the Federal Government.

The CBN accused the company of illegally repatriating $8.8 billion through improper Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI). The AGF is  seeking the payment of $2 billion in unpaid taxes over a 10-year period.

Four local lenders, found wanting in the deal were fined. The fines have since been deducted by the CBN from their accounts.

The firm has repeatedly rejected both allegations.

Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rob Shutter is sure  of an amicable settlement of the issues.

Responding to a question on the crisis on the sideline of the ongoing International Telecoms Union (ITU) Conference at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban, South Africa, Shutter said: “In all its 22 countries of operation, Nigeria is the telco’s largest market.

The challenges of the past two weeks, he said, will be addressed.”

The court processes notwithstanding, the telco will  continue to engage with the authorities on these matters.

In a statement, MTN Corporate Relations Executive Tobe Okigbo said the telco “continues to categorically and unequivocally deny all charges related to the CBN and AGF investigations into the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively”.

He said as previously disclosed, the CBN has alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria and requested that $8.1 billion be returned “to the coffers of the CBN, whilst the AGF has alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and that approximately $2.0 billion in relation to these taxes be paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria (and now directed that the payment of the $8.1 billion is dealt with through his office rather than as directed by the CBN). MTN Nigeria has denied these allegations and claims.

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