Africa’s leading communications network provider, MTN Group has reached an out-of-court settlement with the government over allegations that the company had repatriated $8.1 billion out of the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had demanded that MTN return the full amount “to the coffers of the CBN.”
Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court entered their resolution as judgement yesterday in Lagos. The terms of the settlement were filed on 28th December 2018 by the two parties.
In August 2018, CBN revealed that between 2007 to 2015, four commercial banks colluded with MTN by using irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to illegally remit foreign exchange abroad and a fine of $5.87 billion was issued for the commercial banks also. MTN denied the accusations made by the apex bank and filed a case against them.
Although the fine repatriations were reversed by the CBN on the 24th of December 2018, the case had already been in the court so the two parties decided to have an out-of-court agreement.
At the court yesterday, Senior Advocates for Nigeria (SAN), Mr. Damian Dodo; Professor Fabian Ajogwu and Adeniyi Adegbonmire led by Chief Wole Olaonipekun (SAN), the MTN counsel informed the judge that an amicable agreement has been reached by the two parties. The CBN counsel, Henry Ejiofor also attested to this statement.
In November 2018, there were also claims that the federal government had tried to reduce the fine on MTN from $8 billion to $800 million. The Nigerian Senate demanded an explanation for this action. At the court yesterday, the representative of the Attorney General of the Federation, Olanike Idenu having heard the resolution of both parties asked that his client’s name should be removed from the case.
Details of the settlement remain unknown as neither of the parties involved has disclosed any information about it. Justice Saliu commended both parties for resolving their differences without the intervention of a trial. He also adopted the terms of settlement as the judgement of the court and cancelled the AGF’s name from the case.