MTN and CBN reach agreement, operator to pay over N19 billion

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Just few hours to Christmas, telecoms giant, MTN, announced it has reached an agreement with the regulator of Nigeria’s finance sector, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to the statement obtained by TechCity, MTN has agreed to
pay the notional reversal amount without admission of liability. Specifically, MTN will be paying N19.2 billion – equivalent to US$52.6m.

“…the CBN maintains that the proceeds from the preference shares in MTN Nigeria’s private placement remittances of 2008 of circa USD$ 1 billion were irregular having been based on CCIs that only had an approval-in-principle, but not final regulatory approval of CBN.

MTN stated

CBN alleged improper repatriation by MTN Nigeria of US$8,1 billion between 2007 and 2015.

MTN Nigeria has held various engagements in order to find an equitable resolution to the matter. In particular, a series of meetings were held in Lagos with CBN officials during November 2018. At these meetings MTN Nigeria said it provided additional material documentation which satisfactorily clarified its remittances.

The CBN instructed MTN Nigeria to implement a notional reversal of the 2008 private placement of shares in MTN Nigeria at a net cost of circa N19.2 billion – equivalent to US$52.6m (the notional reversal amount). This is on the basis that certain certificates of capital importation (CCIs) utilised in the private placement were not properly issued.

“MTN Nigeria and the CBN have agreed that they will resolve the matter on the basis that MTN Nigeria will pay the notional reversal amount without admission of liability. In terms of the resolution agreement, the CBN will regularise all the CCIs issued on the investment by shareholders of MTN Nigeria of circa $402,625,419 without regard to any historical disputes relating to those CCIs, thereby bringing to a final resolution all incidental disputes arising from this matter.”

MTN Nigeria revealed it relied on certain commercial banks to ensure all approvals had been obtained prior to the CCIs being issued and to ensure the CCIs were properly utilised in the private placement.

“MTN Nigeria will be engaging with the banks in relation to the issues dealt with in the resolution agreement.”

MTN also revealed its injunctive relief restraining the Attorney General of the Federation from taking further action in respect of its orders for back taxes is continuing.

The AGF matter came up for initial mention before the Federal High Court of Nigeria Lagos Judicial Division on 8 November 2018 and has been adjourned to 7 February 2019.

“MTN Nigeria continues to maintain that its tax matters are up to date and no additional payment, as claimed by the AGF, is due, and consequently no provisions or contingent liabilities are being raised in the accounts of MTN Nigeria for the AGF back taxes claim.”

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