Nigeria’s Central Bank seeks to charge MTN 15 percent interest on $8 billion claim

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the MTN Group should not be given an injunction which stops the South African-based wireless carrier from having to transfer $8.1 billion back to the West African country. The CBN wants MTN to pay a 15 percent annual interest on the sum until the court makes a judgement.

The CBN’s court documents filed with the Federal High Court in Lagos, also reveals that after the court judgement, the apex bank will like the MTN Group to pay 10 percent annual interest till the full amount is paid.

In late August 2018, the CBN accused the MTN Group and four of its banks- Standard Chartered Plc, Citi Group Inc, Stanbic IBTC Plc and Diamond Bank Plc, to have illegally repatriated $8.1 billion from Nigeria. MTN had requested an injection in September 2018 to buy time and fight the claim in the country.

In the documents filed by the CBN,  the bank said the transfers “may have been premeditated and contrived as a scam to make and maximise profits, defraud the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and to enjoy unlimited foreign exchange income perpetually from a single investment without complying with the foreign exchange laws and regulations of Nigeria”.

The court filings suggest the CBN is not prepared to back down over its allegations despite the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele suggesting the dispute would be resolved soon to ensure both parties come out happy.

MTN is separately facing a claim from Nigeria’s Attorney General, who is requesting the telecommunication giant pay about $2 billion in back taxes.



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