Repatriated $8.1bn: Court Adjourns Further hearing in MTN, CBN Suit Over till Jan. 22

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A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, adjourned till January 22, 2019, for report of settlement of the dispute between MTN Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the controversy surrounding the alleged repatriation of $8.1bn profits from Nigeria.

At the resumed hearing of the matter today, the lead counsel for MTN Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, informed the trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu that at the  last adjourned date parties informed the court of ongoing discussion to settle out of court.

Olanipekun (SAN) said the talk is still ongoing and progressing and asked for the indulgence of the court to grant further adjournment to enable parties concludes their talks.

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He thereafter informed the court that counsel in the matter have agreed to come back on January 22, 2019, so as to brief the court on the level of progress reached on the negotiations.

Responding, counsel to the CBN, Mr. Seyi Sowemimo (SAN) Oluwakemi Campbell, agreed with the position of the plaintiff’s counsel.

Also, the Attorney-General counsel, Oluwakem Campbell, aligned herself with the submissions of MTN’s lawyer, Olanipekun (SAN).

upon the application for adjournment by both, Justice Saidu adjourned the matter till January, 22, 2019 for report of settlement.

Parties to the dispute, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and CBN had on the last adjourned date informed the Court that they have resolved to go for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute on the alleged controversial repatriation of over $8.1bn profits from Nigeria.

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It would be recalled that on August 29, this year the CBN sanctioned four banks with various fines totalling about N5.87bn for allegedly violating sections of the country’s foreign exchange regulations by facilitating the controversial repatriation of profits from Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria.

Part of the repatriated funds was, a few years later, brought back into the country by the banks, ostensibly on behalf of some MTN offshore investors in the form of shareholders’ loans and equipment.

The four banks, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank, were accused of “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”

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However, MTN was directed by CBN to carry out a reversal of the transaction and return the entire $8.1bn to Nigeria and follow the due process of repatriation of the funds.

The telecommunication giant in its defence, rejected the directive while insisting that it did not commit any crime to warrant sanction. And on September 10, instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos against the CBN to contest the sanction.

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