Embattled MTN pursues out-of-court settlement with CBN

Embattled telco giant, MTN has decided to resolve the $8.1 billion fine the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) slammed on it in an out-of-court settlement.

MTN had filed a suit to challenge a directive by the CBN directing it to return the $8.1 billion, which the apex bank said was illegally repatriated.

The telco was alleged to have illegally transferred the $8.1 billion out of the country with the help of four banks, including CitiBank, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank.

Although, MTN and the affected banks all denied this claim, even as new evidence soon emerged that the telecoms company is owing Nigeria the sum of $2 billion in back taxes.

When the case was called, MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said his client had decided to pursue an out-of-court settlement with the CBN.

According to Olanipekun, his client had approached CBN for an amicable settlement and this was confirmed by Seyi Sowemimo, CBN’s lead counsel, who told the court that the negotiations were already in an advanced stage.

Olanipekun said, “May it please your lordship, the matter today, is slated for hearing of pending applications, but we owe the court a duty to inform it that parties are engaged.

“Counsel have conferred, and in view of this, we are asking for a short date for report,”

On his part CBN counsel, Sowemimo, said, the apex bank has advanced stages towards settlement, adding that it remains to cross the Ts and dot the Is; it is just for the report of settlement.

It was reported that the legal tussle between the telecommunications giant, and the CBN may be close to a settlement.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed this in a question and answer session held after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja.

Meanwhile, the Justice Saliu Saidu of Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, adjourned till December 12, a report on the settlement.

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