Post Views: 355 After weeks of reviewing piles of evidences and documents submitted by four banks relating to their ‘illegal’ repatriation of $8.13bn,...
After weeks of reviewing piles of evidences and documents submitted by four banks relating to their ‘illegal’ repatriation of $8.13bn, on behalf of South Africa’s telecommunication giant- MTN, Reuters reported Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will meet representatives of the quartet on Friday.
The meeting with Standard Chartered, Citibank, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Diamond Bank, communicated via emailed invitations to their managing directors will discuss the $8.1bn ‘illegal’ fund transfer, the report added, citing a banking source.
The CBN had in August ordered MTN and its bankers to repatriate the funds relying on 30 months of investigations spanning about 10 years, insisting that the telecom giant, aided by the four banks, violated Nigeria’s currency regulations by sending $8.13bn abroad.
But MTN continues to deny any wrongdoing and indeed sought protection of a Federal High Court, just as the banks are pushing for a refund of about N5.65bn fine already charged to their accounts.
Standard Chartered Bank was fined N2.4bn over the fund transfer saga; Stanbic IBTC Bank, N1.8bn, Citibank, N1.2bn; and Diamond Bank, N250m.
Although the CBN and four banks declined to comment on a potential meeting on Friday, just as a spokeswoman for MTN said she was ignorant of any meeting, Reuters further quoted its source as saying the meeting would start at 1600 (1500 GMT) on Friday and focus on MTN’s fund transfer.
Last week, a Lagos court adjourned a hearing on the $8.1 billion dispute between MTN and the central bank until Dec. 4.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, expressed optimism that the issue could be resolved.
That is however the only headache the telecommunications group has to grapple with. In a separate case, the group faces a $2bn tax demand from Nigeria’s attorney general, a claim which the firm says lacks merit.
These cases are aside the group’s troubles with the Nigerian government over sales of pre-registered SIM cards, contrary to directives remains pending. As part of the terms of settlement, MTN is expected to list shares of its local arm on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the plan has suffered repeated postponements already.
Meanwhile, South African Reserve Bank (SARB), on Wednesday that the country’s financial stability is under threat by the demands made on MTN by Nigerian authorities, noting that the company may divest its stake in the local arm if the government continues to insist on payment of the fine.