CBN, MTN inch closer to agreement on $8.1bn fund transfer

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Troubled telco, MTN Nigeria Communication Limited through its MTN Group Limited is soon to make an amiable deal with the Central Bank of Nigeria over an order to repay $8.1bn allegedly repatriated illegally from Nigeria.

The CBN reportedly met four lenders of MTN Nigeria to discuss a dispute over an $8.1bn fund transfer, a banking source told Reuters.

Bloomberg has also reported that a settlement may be announced this week to end the telco’s unrelenting drama with Nigerian authorities over fines, tax evasion and illegal repatriation  in what some analysts have described as corporate witch-hunting of the South African telecommunications giant.

Reuters said the CBN emailed invitations last Thursday to the Nigeria Heads of Standard Chartered, Citibank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Diamond Bank, to attend a Friday meeting designed to bring respite to the telco. The four banks have already been sanctioned by the CBN for unlawfully facilitating the transfer. The meeting focused on the MTN’s fund transfer.

All four bank were in August accused of illegally repatriating$8.1bn from Nigeria while the office of the Attorney General of the Federation claimed MTN Nigeria failed to remit $2bn back taxes.

The CBN fined the four banks N5.87bn for allegedly remitting dividends with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation on behalf of MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015.

Against the accusation of not paying taxes, MTN Nigeria has sued the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Lagos, demanding N3bn as general and exemplary damages.

The telco, in the suit, described the AGF’s N242bn and $1.3bn demand from it as “malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis.”

The AGF has, in turn, filed a preliminary objection, urging the court to dismiss MTN’s suit.

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