Illegal Funds Repatriation, Tax Evasion: MTN Drags CBN, AGF to Court

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A worker walks past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

Emma Okonji

MTN Nigeria has gone to court to challenge the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that the telecoms company should refund $8.134 billion illegally repatriated from the country and the demand by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) that it should pay $2 billion tax arrears to the federal government.

In a suit at the Federal High Court Monday, MTN Nigeria prayed the court to restrain the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders.

While the CBN accused MTN Nigeria of illegally repatriating the sum of $8.134 billion from Nigeria between 2007 and 2015, the AGF accused MTN Nigeria of unpaid tax arrears of $2 billion within the same period.

Although MTN denied any wrong doing in two different statements it released earlier, the telecoms company said it went to court to challenge the orders to pay the huge amount, totaling $10.134 billion, in order to protect its assets in Nigeria and shareholder rights within the confines of the law.

MTN said it would continue 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 Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) and unpaid taxes respectively.

The company, in a statement issued on Monday, said: “In order to protect MTN Nigeria’s assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law, we have applied 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.”