MTN Group Limited, NLC
An MTN signpost

As more facts continue to emerge about MTN’s recent troubles with the Nigerian authorities, it has been revealed that a whistleblower gave the tipoff that prompted an investigation by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

This was disclosed yesterday (September 4th) by Mr Ladidi Mohammed, the Head of Asset Recovery at the Officer of Nigeria’s Attorney General who granted a phone interview to Reuters on the matter.

According to him, the whistleblower’s tipoff led the CBN to conduct the investigation that eventually led to Nigeria’s demand that MTN refund the sum of $8.1 billion which it had been accused of illegally taking out of the country.

As we reported, the CBN accused MTN of breaching Nigeria’s extant laws and forex rules when it remitted the sum of $8.1 billion with the help of four banks. The repatriated funds were used to shareholders and offset debts.

Meanwhile, MTN has continued to assert its innocence on the alleged illegality pertaining to the remittances. Just yesterday, the company said in a statement that “all dividend repatriation out of Nigeria was done on the basis of equity capital and with valid certificates.”

MTN was also recently asked to pay the sum of $2 billion in back taxes which it owes the Nigerian Government; a development which the telco equally declines.

Currently, there is growing concern over the company’s ability to overcome all these regulatory challenges. Currently, MTN Group is reportedly lobbying authorities over the $8.1 billion demand which is about half of its market capitalisation.

There is also the uncertainty surrounding MTN’s planned Nigerian IPO which must happen by May 2019; lest the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reimpose an initial fine of $5 billion.

But despite MTN’s many regulatory issues, its Group CEO (Rob Shutter) said yesterday that the company remains committed to Nigeria. This is unsurprising, considering that Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market, generating most of its revenue.

Deal book 300 x 250
Deal book 300 x 250

3 COMMENTS

  1. The ” whistleblower” was definitely a top management staff who was shown the way out with an unsatisfactory severance package and termination of appointment conditions. When a company like MTN treats staff like shit, the staff will give the company bullshit. Hopefully, the whistleblower’s cut from the deal (fine) will be a better payoff than his/her exit pay.

  2. This matter is not new to the CBN and has in fact been investigated over recent years. So i doubt the connection to any whistle blower especially as no new material evidence that has not been public before now has now being made know as by the purported whistler as new evidence
    If any thing, it is rather disturbing and unfortunate that our regulators are starting to create an unfavourable impression about our commercial laws and the broader ease of doing business in Nigeria. This is a damaging reputation risk that is certain to cost us FDI
    This is a clear case of sovereign 419. Very sad

    H

  3. It all goes to show the obvious fact that no matter the business and its ‘connections’, the right thing must always be done without which it comes back haunting. The best option for covering your tracks is to do the RIGHT thing, It guarantees peace.

    As a local parlance adage…”TRUTH covers in 1 day the distance leap of a LIE for 20 years”

    MTN is not the only multi-national in Nigeria even in the telecommunications sector. Some of us can remember Strive Masiwa’s Econet Wireless and its ‘misadventure’ with power brokers in the country.

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