(Updated) AGF Withdraws Demand for MTN’s Unpaid Taxes, Refers Case to FIRS, Customs

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*Company’s stock up 6% on Johannesburg exchange

The Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, has withdrawn the demand for the unpaid duties and taxes by Telecom giant, MTN Nigeria, the company has disclosed.

A statement signed by the Company Secretary, Uta Ukpanah, Friday, said Malami informed the company’s legal counsel in a letter dated January 8, 2020 of his decision to withdraw the demand for the payment.

The statement said the AGF in the letter announced his decision to refer the matter to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). By implication, the matter will now be handled by the two revenue generating federal agencies.

Consequently , the MTN said it would follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NCS on the issues.

Meanwhile, market reacted to the news of the withdrawal Friday as MTN stock was up six percent on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and still rising because market has not closed at the time of filing this report. The company’s stock spiked 455 rand (over $30).

MTN statement titled ‘Withdrawal of Demand by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (The AGF) for N242,244,452,212.97 and USD$1,283,610357.86 Alleged Revenue Indebtedness from MTN Nigeria Communications PLC (MTN Nigeria)’ , read:

“MTN Nigeria is pleased to report that its legal counsel has received a letter dated 8th January 2020 from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice formally withdrawing its demand for N242,244,452,212.97 and USD$1,283,610357.86 alleged revenue indebtedness.

“The letter confirmed that following careful review and due consultation with relevant statutory agencies, the AGF has decided to refer the mater to Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with a view to resolving contentious issues.

“MTN Nigeria will consequently follow due court process to withdrawal its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NC on the issues. MTN Nigeria remains committed to conducting its business in accordance with applicable laws in Nigeria.”

Reacting to the development, MTN Nigeri CEO, Ferdi Moolman said, “We are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom. We maintain our dedication building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria and remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributing to the social and economic development of Nigeira”.