MTN Group and four lenders won approval from Nigeria’s central bank to repatriate funds in a ruling last year, indicating Africa’s largest wireless operator is at least now complying with regulations it’s accused of flouting prior to 2015.
In a letter addressed to MTN Nigeria’s CEO dated 22 February 2017, the central bank confirms the validity of the company’s certificates of capital importation, which are needed to take funds out of the country. MDs of the local units of Citigroup, Standard Chartered, Standard Bank Group’s Stanbic IBTC and Diamond Bank were copied in the document.
However, the Nigerian central bank last week demanded MTN return US$8.1-billion “illegally” taken out of the country between 2007 and 2015, making no reference to transactions after that date.
The allegations — which the South African company denies — have weighed heavily on MTN’s shares, which traded 1.8% lower at R87.42 as of 1.16pm in Johannesburg. They closed at R86.80.
The letter to MTN Nigeria was first obtained by Lagos-based newspaper Business Day. — Reported by Emele Onu and Loni Prinsloo, with assistance from Yinka Ibukun, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP