A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, fixed January 30 and 31 for hearing in the $2bn tax dispute between South Africa’s MTN Group and Nigeria’s Attorney General asking the telecoms firm to pay the tax due for importation of equipment and payments to foreign suppliers between 2007 and 2017
MTN however continues to argue that the claim lacks merit and that the attorney general exceeded his powers in making the request.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the government submitted their case against MTN, insisting that Attorney General Abubakar Malami, indeed, has the power to levy the charge and requested a court date in late January to continue the proceedings.
Government lawyers had in June asked that the case be adjourned until October to give time to prepare their case, the latest dispute between MTN and the Nigerian government.
In December, MTN agreed to pay $53m to resolve a separate dispute with Nigeria’s central bank, which said the company improperly removed $8.1bn from the country between 2007 and 2008.
MTN also this year was set to pay off another N330bn ($1bn) fine imposed for not disconnecting unregistered SIM cards.
In May, the company’s local unit, MTN Nigeria, listed in Lagos in a 2 trillion naira flotation that made it the second-largest stock on the bourse by market value.
It has said that it would sell more shares to the public and increase local ownership once the tax row is resolved.