In some rare good news for MTN Group, Nigeria’s attorney-general has withdrawn a US$2-billion (R28.5-billion) tax demand against its subsidiary in the West African nation.
MTN’s shares leaped higher in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon shortly after the news broke. The share was trading more than 6% higher at 4.20pm.
The country’s attorney-general in 2018 dropped a bombshell on MTN when it said it was claiming the $2-billion for alleged unpaid duties and taxes between 2007 and 2017.
MTN disputed the claim and commenced legal action in Nigeria against the attorney-general. The case was postponed was set down to be heard at the end of January. The matter will no longer be heard.
“MTN Nigeria has been informed by means of a letter received by its legal counsel, and dated 8 January 2020, that following careful review and due consultation with relevant statutory agencies, the (attorney-general) has decided to refer the matter to the relevant authorities, being the Federal Inland Revenue Service and Nigeria Customs with a view to them resolving the issues,” the group said in a statement to shareholders on Friday.
“Accordingly, the (attorney-general) has withdrawn its letter of demand for the aforementioned $2-billion that was issued in August 2018.”
MTN said its Nigerian subsidiary will now withdraw its legal action against the attorney-general and engage instead with the tax authorities.
The development comes less than two weeks after MTN said it is facing a lawsuit over alleged contravention of the US Anti-Terrorism Act in Afghanistan where it is accused of paying protection money to the Taliban.
The suit was filed in a Washington, DC court on behalf of American service members and civilians, and their families, who were killed or wounded in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2017. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media