CBN Asks MTN Nigeria to Refund $8.13B for Illegal Repatriation

CBN Asks MTN Nigeria to Refund $8.13B for Illegal Repatriation

There was one book we read in secondary school which was very interesting. It was called One Week One Trouble by Anezi Okoro. I think it was about a character named Wilson Tagbo who was always getting into trouble every week. If you replace Wilson Tagbo with MTN Nigeria and make that one week to become two years, you may be describing MTN Nigeria.

Yes, MTN Nigeria has another issue: now, it is coming from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The bank asked it yesterday to refund $8.13B (with B) which the apex bank said the mobile giant (allegedly) illegally repatriated. This is the CBN Letter to MTN (MTN-Letter-of-outcome-of-investigation)

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday wielded the big stick on mobile telecom firm, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, and four commercial banks for alleged financial infractions.

The CBN’s spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, in a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday said the apex bank wrote to MTN Nigeria demanding a refund of about $8.13 billion (about N2.5trillion at N306.15 to $) allegedly repatriated illegally out of Nigeria.

Mr Okorafor said the affected banks, including Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank, would refund various amounts totaling N5.87 billion.

Standard Chartered was asked to refund N2.5 billion; Stanbic IBTC (N1.9 billion); Citibank (N1.3 billion and Diamond Bank (N250 million).

Now, it is safe to note that MTN Nigeria’s IPO is dead because no one will touch a brand that has a problem with the Central Bank of Nigeria. I expect MTN Nigeria to go to court but with four banks named who will also refund good money, it may not find redemption there.

MTN Nigeria has made money in Nigeria and I am sure it can pay this if the court adds it to its tab. I had calculated its total profit since founding in Nigeria to be about $28 billion as at last year. When CBN asks it to return $8B, it makes that $28B looks smaller.

Update: Someone shared this on LinkedIn as MTN response

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