Illegal Repatriation of Funds: CBN bars banks from paying MTN dividends

Banking services providers to MTN Nigeria have been barred by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from remitting dividend payments from the Nigerian subsidiary to MTN Group, until further notice.

Senator Dino Melaye had alleged that MTN, in connivance with the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks exploited the Nigerian financial system to illegally move the money out of the country without the required authorisation through four banks: Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank and Citi Bank.

The service provider responded to this by telling the Senate Committee on Banks, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, that circumstances compelled it to move funds out the country without observing the law.

Addressing the alleged illegal repatriation of $13.97bn in a quarterly update to shareholders, MTN Group said Nigeria’s apex bank had ordered the four commercial banks operated by it to suspend dividend payout from Nigeria.

The update reads in part: “MTN Nigeria, four commercial banks, certain MTN Nigeria directors and shareholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria and others appeared before the Senate on 20 October 2016 at the outset of this investigation.

“The allegations are that $13.97 billion was repatriated illegally by MTN Nigeria through its bankers. MTN Nigeria and its bankers are cooperating with the investigation with a view to resolving the matter as expeditiously as possible.

“In the interim, the CBN has instructed the banks to suspend any remittance of dividends until further notice. MTN Nigeria continues to refute the allegations that MTN Nigeria had improperly repatriated funds from Nigeria.

“Consequently, MTN Nigeria will strongly defend any action that would be prejudicial to its interest. MTN Nigeria has no intention to make any dividend payments over the next six months.”


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