The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said latest documents provided by MTN Nigeria and its four banks may lead to a reduction in $8.1 billion claim on the telecommunication company.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who made this known while speaking with reporters in London on Sunday, said he expected that the new information would help cut the size of the claim and that the matter would be resolved “amicably.”
Emefiele added that officials of the CBN were studying the documents with the hope to decide on the matter in a “couple of weeks.” “I don’t think it will be at $8.1 billion having provided documents,” Emefiele said.
It would be recalled that the CBN in late August alleged that MTN repatriated a total of $8.1 billion from the country through illegal means. The financial regulator directed the telco to refund the money and imposed a combined fine of N5.87 billion on four banks – Standard Chartered Plc, Citigroup Inc., Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc – that allegedly aided the process.
In early September, MTN sought a court injunction restraining CBN from demanding that the amount should be refunded in order to buy itself time and fight the claim which wiped as much as 36 percent off its market value within two weeks.
The CBN had asked the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos to deny MTN’s request and said the telecommunication company should pay 15 percent annualised interest on the sum until the court make a judgment and 10 percent from then until the whole amount is paid, according to legal documents filed by the regulator.
“They will see they have been given a fair hearing. More information has been provided and I’m very optimistic that matters are going to be resolved amicably,’’ Emefiele said.
The CBN Governor however assured international investors that the Nigerian market remained opened, noting that the clash with MTN ought to have taken a global dimension as there was no reason “for anyone to lose any sleep’’ on the matter.
According to him, “This is not a matter that should have blown so openly. Nigeria is a country that happens to be very, very open.”
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