Business Hilights
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CBN Vs. MTN: Out of court settlement on $8.1bn return imminent—Experts

…As Emefiele’s comments buoy MTN shares by 2% on JSE
A number of finance experts who weighed weekend’s comments in London by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, have started seeing a possible down review of the amount to be returned to Nigeria by MTN in the event of out of court settlement.
This is as Sunday’s salutary comments by the CBN on the matter in London suggesting a possible downward review of the amount to be returned to Nigeria have sparked off a two percent surge in MTN’s share on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) on Monday.
Some of the industry observers who had been following the matter confided in Business Hilights on Monday that from the body language of the CBN, reprieve may be underway for MTN Nigeria on the issue even though CBN is yet to send out a clear signal.
They averred that for the apex bank chief to voice out the comment that the amount for return may not remain at $8.1bn, it means that negotiations that will be done out of court is imminent.
It would be recalled that MTN had approach a Federal High Court seeking a stop of execution order on the apex bank over the sanction ordering it to return $8.1bn it repatriated in connivance with four banks without recourse to the final approval for the Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI).
The apex bank had already debited the four banks accounts of the fines. The banks include Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank.
Already, the CBN had last Friday, filed a counter-claim to a court request by MTN, which is seeking to stop the bank from forcing it to bring back the money.
However, Emefiele noted in London that “I don’t think it will be staying at $8.1 billion,” and added that the issue will be dealt with “amicably and equitably”.
According to him, “I want to believe that the figures will reduce. Whether they will be dropped completely, I honestly cannot say at this time.”
Disclosing that “The central bank will be examining these,” analysts say the set of fresh documents tendered to the CBN by the telecom giant will aid possible cut in the total money expected to be returned to Nigeria by MTN Nigeria.