South Africa’s MTN has paid $53 million to settle Nigerian dispute

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Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said South Africa’s MTN has paid $53 million to settle a money transfer dispute with the bank and the matter has been withdrawn from court.

CBN had ordered MTN and its lenders- Citibank, Diamond Bank, Stanbic IBTC Nigeria and Standard Chartered Bank, to bring back a total of $8.1 billion it alleged the company had illegally repatriated using improperly issued paperwork between 2007 and 2008. The dispute dragged the company’s share price to its lowest level since 2006.

MTN issued a statement to deny any wrongdoing. The company said it had provided additional documentation to prove its innocence to the CBN.

Emefiele noted that the money paid by MTN was a notional sum and that the company has been absolved from any wrongdoing. He said “I am  glad to tell you in November we held a round of meetings with MTN officials even from South Africa and by December we concluded those engagements and the matters were resolved”.

The CBN Governor, who spoke on the results of the meeting, said “it resulted in a notional reversal. Let me make it clear that it is not a fine or a penalty. It was a notional reversal of 53 million dollars amounting to about 19.5 billion naira. This amount has since been paid by MTN and terms of settlement of this matter has already been lodged at the Nigerian court”.

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