Telecommunications firm, MTN Group has said that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, exceeded his powers in demanding the payment of $2 billion in tax arrears.
This was contained in court papers presented to a Court and reviewed by Reuters on Tuesday.
It would be recalled that MTN had approached a Federal High Court of Nigeria to seek a restraining order over the $10.1 billion demand by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the AGF.
According to the papers, the company also requested N3 billion in court and legal expenses.
Two weeks ago, the CBN had ordered the telecommunication company to refund $8.1 billion shareholders’ dividends it allegedly repatriated illegally, while it imposed sanctions totaling N5.87 billion on four banks that aided the company in the repatriation.
Last week, Malami in a statement ordered the telco to refund another $2 billion in tax arrears it failed to pay.
He said his office made a “high-level calculation” which showed that MTN should have paid about $2 billion in taxes.
The taxes, according to the AGF, were relating to the importation of foreign equipment, payments to foreign suppliers since 2008, import duties, VAT and withholding taxes on foreign imports/payments.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Telecommunication Commission (NCC) said it was making efforts to ensure the relationship between the government and MTN Group is kept amicable as the two parties negotiate $10.1 billion claims against the telco.
NCC Chief Executive Officer, Umar Danbatta, told Bloomberg in Durban, South Africa that it was “doing what it can to facilitate amicable resolution of MTN’s standoff with the tax and finance regulators.”
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