Again, Silver News predicts right as MTN sues CBN, AGF

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Again, Silver News has proved adept at predicting how the fight between MTN and the FG of Nigeria may go. The online newspaper had predicted that from all indications, the FG may have many charges lined up against the company, such that the more the company denied the fines, the more FG will roll out other charges.

Now, MTN Nigeria has filed a suit against the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to seek a restraining order after the FG slammed another charge, this time on taxes.

In a suit filed in Lagos, the telco is seeking an injunctive relief to protect its assets and shareholder rights.

The CBN has alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria and requested that $8.1 billion be returned to the coffers of the banking regulator.

Days later, the AGF said MTN had unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports approximately $2.0 billion.

However, in a statement on Monday, the company said it continues to “categorically and unequivocally” deny all charges related to investigations by the CBN and AGF into the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.

The company said it would continue to engage with the relevant authorities on issues.

Tobe Okigbo, MTN Nigeria corporate relations executive, said, according to the statement: “The allegations being made involve issues that appear to be complex and so are easily misunderstood and misinterpreted.

“They are made even more confusing when the relevant authorities send conflicting messages and instructions and act in a way that appears un-coordinated and at cross purposes.

“The simple reality is that MTN Nigeria has never repatriated dividends on the CCIs referenced by the CBN and that MTN is fully compliant with Nigerian tax law.

“With situations like this, it is vital for both the government, regulators and the company to have absolute clarity on the nature of both the allegations being made and the processes that are being followed.

“In the absence of this clarity, our only option is to seek judicial intervention and to ask the courts to act as adjudicator. This has been done today.”