MTN Nigeria Communications Limited has sought relief from the Federal High Court restraining Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) from taking further action in respect to the alleged improper dividend repatriations by the company and unpaid taxes to the country’s government on foreign payments and imports.
The company announced this in a press release signed by Funso Aina, public relation manager, MTN Nigeria Limited.
In the statement, MTN said it denied all charges, particularly ones bordering around the investigations by CBN and the AGF into the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.
“MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) continues to categorically and unequivocally deny all charges related to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) investigations into the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.
“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. 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,” the statement read.
“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.”
Tobe Okigbo, MTN Nigeria corporate relations executive, commenting on the developments said; “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.
“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.”
He further said 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.”
The executive assured that “MTN remains fully committed to Nigeria and remains resolute that the company has not committed any offence 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,” he said.