By Dipo Olowookere
Leading telecommunication company in Africa, MTN, says it will defend the fine slammed on it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
On Wednesday, the apex bank found the MTN Nigeria guilty of illegally moving funds from the country to South Africa.
According to the CBN, this was carried out with the assistance of four financial institutions; Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc.
Consequently, the central bank fined the banks a total of N5.87 billion and asked MTN to refund $8.1 billion.
But reacting to this in a statement, MTN described the fine as regrettable, noting that it would damage investors’ confidence in the Nigerian economy.
However, the company promised to defend its position regarding the fine.
“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,” MTN said in the statement.
Read the full text of MTN’s statement below;
MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) received a letter on 29 August 2018 from CBN alleging that CCI’s 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 issues surrounding the CCI’shave 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 & 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.
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