The Central Bank of Nigeria has debited Stanbic IBTC for allegedly helping MTN in illegally repatriating money. The bank informed the Nigerian Stock Exchange that CBN debited it N1.9bn ($5.2m) from its account.
Following our earlier announcement to The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) on 30 August 2018, in respect of the penalty of N1.886 billion imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (“CBN”) on our banking subsidiary – Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC (the “Bank”) in relation to the remittance of foreign exchange on the basis of certain capital importation certificates issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, we write to update The NSE that the CBN has debited the account of our banking subsidiary with the CBN for the full amount of the above stated fine advised to the Bank.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC as well as our banking subsidiary maintain our position on this matter, which is the fact that the Bank has done nothing illegal and accordingly the Bank will continue to provide CBN with documents and details in support of our contention that our actions in relation to these transactions were not illegal.
No matter how you see it, the MTN $8.1 billion refund is now real. CBN would be callous to have gone ahead and debited Stanbic IBTC if it was not obviously confident of its investigation. In other words, MTN has $8.1 billion to worry about as a real action has been taken by the government.
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)
But note one thing: the MTN Nigeria IPO is about dead for 2018. The next chapter of MTN Nigeria will be determined in coming weeks. If the market has become toxic, do not rule out the unthinkable: MTN may consider! Yes, sins are not forgiven easily in Nigeria. The good news is that there are still courts but with the debit on Stanbic IBTC account, I am not sure those banks that recently pumped N200 billion into MTN Nigeria would be laughing anymore. MTN Nigeria is on paralysis at this moment of its history when you consider the extra $2 billion on unpaid taxes and fees coming from the Attorney General office.