MTN Nigeria Communications Limited on Thursday rejected the sanction handed down by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday over alleged $8.13 billion (about N2.5 trillion at N306.15 to $) illegally repatriated profits from the country.
The telecom firm, in a reaction to the sanctions, which also affected four leading commercial banks, said it will vigorously defend its position on the issue, describing the sanction as regrettable.
“MTN Nigeria, as a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, is committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The re-emergence of these issues is regrettable as it damages investor confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
“We will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend our position on this matter and provide further information when available,” the telecom firm said in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES.
The CBN said MTN repatriated the money based on illegally issued Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) with the connivance of Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank between 2007 and 2015.
The apex bank said the transaction was a “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”
Consequently, the four banks were asked to refund various amounts totalling N5.87 billion.
Standard Chartered was asked to refund N2.5 billion; Stanbic IBTC (N1.9 billion); Citibank (N1.3 billion and Diamond Bank (N250 million).