MTN Nigeria has denied its involvement in the illegal repatriation of dividends worth $8.1bn between 2007 and 2015.
The telecoms company through its Public Relations Manager, Funso Aina, on Thursday, acknowledged the receipt of a letter from the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding the allegations on August 29, 2018.
The company said it only declared and paid dividends with Certificates of Capital Importation issued by its bankers with the approval of the CBN.
“MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) received a letter on August 29, 2018, from CBN alleging that CCIs issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders’ loans in MTN Nigeria to preference shares in 2007 had been improperly issued. As a consequence they claim that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria, between 2007 and 2015 amounting to $8.1bn need to be refunded to the CBN, ” he said.
He added, “MTN Nigeria strongly refutes these allegations and claims. No dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law.”
The company said the issues regarding the CCIs were the object of investigation by the Senate in 2016, adding that the findings by the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions indicated that it did not contravene forex laws.
MTN Nigeria stated it regretted the re-emergence of the issue, saying “it damages investors’ confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”
“In September 2016 the Senate mandated the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out a holistic investigation on compliance with the Foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous) Act by MTN Nigeria & Others.
“In its report issued in November 2017, the findings evidenced that MTN Nigeria did not collude to contravene the foreign exchange laws and there were no negative recommendations made against MTN Nigeria,” the statement said.
According to Aina, the company is committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The company promised to engage with the relevant authorities, vigorously defend its position on the matter and provide further information when available.