MTN applies to Nigeria Federal High Court for relief

MTN. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

MTN [JSE:MTN] said in a shareholder announcement on Monday afternoon that it applied to the Federal High Court of Nigeria, seeking relief from the actions of the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (AGF) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regarding its hefty fine in the West African country.

The group said in order to protect MTN Nigeria's assets and shareholder rights within the confines of Nigerian law, it made the application "for injunctive relief restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action" against it.

The group said it would continue to vigorously defend its position in Nigeria.

In a separate statement MTN CEO Rob Shuter said the group was confident that MTN Nigeria had complied with all relevant laws and that the conflicting instructions from different organs of state meant it had no choice but to seek relief from the courts.

“We remain firmly committed to the Nigerian market and will continue to engage with the authorities on these matters,” said Shuter.

The group added that it remained resolute that MTN Nigeria had not committed any offences in relation to the fine.

"We will provide further information as and when available. Shareholders are accordingly advised to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement is made," said the telecommunications giant.

As previously disclosed the CBN has alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria and requested that $8.1bn be returned “to the coffers of the CBN”.

READ: MTN says Nigeria is seeking to recover $2bn in back taxes

This is all happening while the AGF alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports, the statement read.

The group said that approximately $2bn in relation to what Nigerian authorities called "unpaid taxes" was ordered to be paid to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

MTN said that the AGF wants the $8.1bn payment be dealt with through his office rather than the CBN. MTN Nigeria has denied these allegations and claims.

The group said, in respect of their orders, it would continue to engage with the relevant authorities on the matters.

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