The Federal Government has raised hopes that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and troubled teleco-giant, MTN would soon strike a deal in their dispute over the repatriation of $8.1 billion.
Speaking through the Minster of Information, Lai Mohammed assured that the two parties are getting closer to resolving the dispute.
According to him:
“They are businessmen and they are going to resolve it… it is in the interest of all the parties that this matter will be resolved.”
How it all began
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in August, fined four banks – Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank, Standard Chartered and Citibank – a total of ₦5.86 billion for breaching Nigeria’s extant laws and forex rules when they facilitated illegal repatriation of funds to South Africa on behalf of MTN.
MTN then issued a statement denying any form of illegality had taken place, as it had been cleared by the Senate. The CBN has since gone on to deduct the fines from the accounts of the banks involved.
The Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami then accused the company of owing $2 billion as back taxes, relating to the importation of equipment and payments to suppliers over the last ten years.
The Chief Financial Officer (CFO), MTN Nigeria, Ralph Mupita recently disclosed that the company is considering new means of trading its shares. Mupita said the multinational company is currently facing a combined $10 billion in claims from Nigerian authorities and may no longer seek to raise capital through an initial public offering on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The telco’s decision to reconsider listing its shares in the Nigerian Capital Market, through an Initial Public Offering (IPO), is a direct fallout of its lingering disputes with the Nigerian authorities (its biggest market) that wiped out more than a third of the company’s market value over three weeks.