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In keeping with its self acclaimed righteousness over recent claims by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), over abuse of due process in certificate of capital importation (CCI) involving $8.1bn, leading telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has approached a federal High Court for redress on the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.
Business Hilights recalls that the CBN had 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. Furthermore four commercial banks were issued fines in respect of the administration of the CCI and irregular dividend repatriation and requested to return, in aggregate, the same $8.1 billion.
However, in order to protect MTN Nigeria’s assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law, we have applied today in the Federal High Court of Nigeria for injunctive relief restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders, while we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on these matters.
Giving further insights on the company’s plan of action, MTN Nigeria Corporate Relations Executive, Tobechukwu Okigbo averred in a statement that “The allegations being made involve issues that appear to be complex and so are easily misunderstood and misinterpreted. They are made even more confusing when the relevant authorities send conflicting messages and instructions and act in a way that appears un-coordinated and at cross purposes.
According to him, the simple reality is that MTN Nigeria has never repatriated dividends on the CCIs referenced by the CBN and that MTN is fully compliant with Nigerian tax law.
Continuing, Okigbo argued that “With situations like this, it is vital for both the government, regulators and the company to have absolute clarity on the nature of both the allegations being made and the processes that are being followed. In the absence of this clarity, our only option is to seek judicial intervention and to ask the courts to act as adjudicator. This has been done today.”
On the other hand, MTN made if further clear that it remains fully committed to Nigeria and remains resolute that the company has not committed any offences and will continue to defend its position vigorously. The company will continue engaging with the relevant authorities, and further information will be provided as and when available.