Africa’s biggest telecommunications firm MTN said on Tuesday it was still engaging with Nigerian authorities to resolve a dispute over the alleged repatriation of US$8.1 billion of funds out of the country.
In August, MTN Nigeria received a letter from the central bank alleging that certificates of capital importation issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders’ loans in the company to preference shares in 2007 had been done improperly.
As a result, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Attorney General have said historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 amounting to U.S.$8.1 billion must be refunded to the bank.
MTN Nigeria has refuted these allegations and claims, saying no dividends have been declared or paid by the company other than pursuant to certificates of capital importations issued by its bankers and with the approval of the central bank as required by law.
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In August, the company said it was a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria and was committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the country. It said the re-emergence of these issues was regrettable as it damaged investor confidence and, by extension, inhibited the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
A hearing has been set for October 30. In order to protect its assets and shareholder rights, MTN applied in the Federal High Court of Nigeria for injunctive relief restraining the central bank and the attorney general from taking further action while engagements continued.
MTN has already faced a hefty fine in Nigeria – its biggest market – because of more than 5.1 million sim cards that were not registered.
On Tuesday the firm advised shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in its securities until a further announcement.