MTN: ‘CBN Not Against Investors Who Repatriate Capital Properly’

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it is still engaged in discussions with officials of telecommunications giant-MTN Nigeria and the four banks recently sanctioned for allegedly involved in capital repatriation on the basis of irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI).
In a statement on Wednesday by Isaac Okorafor, its Director of Corporate Communications, the CBN said the sanction was not punish investors who legitimately repatriate returns on their investment, or capital.
The move, it added, is also not “designed to restrict access to investor returns,” while urging legitimate investors to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities in Nigeria.
Instead, he assured “all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.”
The statement is against the backdrop of the recently concluded 30-month investigation showing that MTN Nigeria fraudulently repatriated $8.13bn out of the country over a 10-year period using irregular CCIs.
While MTN Nigeria has been mandated to refund the forex in exchange for the Naira value at current rates; the accounts of Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank with the CBN were debited to the tune of N5.65bn, being sanction for accomplices in the process.
MTN and the banks have continued to insist on their innocence in the alleged irregularities.
The four banks and MTN, the statement continued, “are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution.
In the statement titled: “On Recent FOREX Sanctions,” the CBN acknowledged public interest over the sanctions, restating its resolve to continue welcoming foreign investments and investors, stressing that recent innovations and FX reforms like “the introduction of the NAFEX window… designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.”
The statement further assured that delegating issuance of CCIs “to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.