MTN goes to court to challenge $10.134 bn refund demands by Regulatory Authorities

On Monday, MTN said it had turned to the courts for relief in its dispute with the Nigerian authorities, which have ordered the mobile operator to return $8.1bn in dividends.

Nigeria says the funds were repatriated illegally.

Africa’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers is also accused of owing Nigeria $2bn in outstanding taxes.

MTN said in a statement that it had applied for injunctive relief in the federal high court of Nigeria, restraining the Central Bank of Nigeria and attorney-general of Nigeria from enforcing the damaging claims.

“MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) continues to categorically and unequivocally deny all charges related to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) investigations into the company’s CCIs and unpaid taxes respectively.

“In order to protect MTN Nigeria’s assets and shareholder rights within the confines of the law, we have applied today in the Federal High Court of Nigeria for injunctive relief restraining the CBN and the AGF from taking further action in respect of their orders, while we continue to engage with the relevant authorities on these matters,” a statement by MTN’s spokesman1, Tobe Okigbo.

Its shares have lost just more than a third of their value on the JSE since the claims surfaced just more than three weeks ago.

MTN’s troubles in Nigeria highlight the risks in its business, with operations in difficult markets such as Syria and Afghanistan often shunned by multinational rivals.

In July, MTN was hit by US President Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran, meaning it may be unable to repatriate R3.4bn from that country.

MTN shares were down 0.80% to R74.13 in late trade, giving it a market value of R139.6bn.

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