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Court adjourns MTN’s case yet again

The $2 billion tax case between MTN Nigeria and the Office of Nigeria’s Attorney General suffered yet another delay today, following its adjournment.

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MTN Nigeria

The $2 billion tax fraud case between MTN Nigeria and the Office of Nigeria’s Attorney General suffered yet another delay today, following its adjournment by a Lagos Federal High Court Judge.

According to Reuters, the case was adjourned till March 26, 2019, when it would be heard again by the judge.

A protracted court case

The court case has so far been protracted since September last year when the Office of the Attorney General first claimed that MTN Nigeria was owing the sum of $2 billion in back taxes. The company was asked to pay the money immediately.

Recall that Nairametrics reported exclusively that Nigeria’s Attorney General, Mr Abubakar Malami, had made the demand after an investigation into corporate tax compliance in Nigeria revealed that MTN was owing $2 billion in back taxes.

According to the investigation, the unpaid taxes span over a ten-year period and are related to the importation of foreign equipment into the country as well as payments to the suppliers of the said equipment.

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But the embattled telco has since denied the allegation, insisting that it is not owing any tax money. MTN said it carried out its own internal assessment of the situation, and in August 2018 submitted a report showing that it has duly complied with its tax obligations. But the Office of the Attorney General never accepted the report.

Consequently, MTN Nigeria filed a suit asking the court to restrain the government from “disturbing or otherwise interfering with the business of the company.”

On December 4th 2018, the case was adjourned till today, February 7th, by the presiding judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, who cited his administrative leave as an excuse. It is not exactly clear what the necessitated this latest adjournment.

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MTN is trying to clear its name ahead of NSE listing

MTN Nigeria, which is a subsidiary of South Africa’s MTN Group Limited, has had a bitter-sweet experience in the country since its entrance into the Nigerian market in the early 2000s.

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Although the company has remained one of the leading telecoms companies in Nigeria, it has also been faced with a number of regulatory challenges, which, at some point, even threatened its continued existence in the country.

Against all odds, the company has been consistent in its efforts to clear its name, even as it prepares for its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange which has just been confirmed will be happening before the end of this quarter.

Emmanuel is a professional writer and business journalist, with interests covering Banking & Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, Corporate Profiles, Brand Communication, Fintech, and MSMEs.He initially joined Nairametrics as an all-round Business Analyst, but later began focusing on and covering the financial services sector. He has also held various leadership roles, including Senior Editor, QAQC Lead, and Deputy Managing Editor.Emmanuel holds an M.Sc in International Relations from the University of Ibadan, graduating with Distinction. He also graduated with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division) from the Department of Philosophy & Logic, University of Ibadan.If you have a scoop for him, you may contact him via his email- [email protected] You may also contact him through various social media platforms, preferably LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Meristem presents Outlook for 2021 titled ‘Bracing for a different future’

Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space.

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Meristem Securities Limited, a leading capital market conglomerate has recently launched its economic outlook report for the year 2021. The outlook report titled ‘Bracing for a Different Future’ highlighted in depth a wide range of issues relevant to an evolving future. With a global economy that has been scarred by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic economy was not left out, as the Nigeria economy slipped back into a recession, amplifying the structural weakness of the domestic economy in the form of weakening exchange rates, rising inflation, among others.

In Meristem’s H2:2020 Outlook: “Unmasking Value in a Scourge”, Meristem had warned that the threat of a second wave of new infections was very much a possibility. As a result, the recovery of economic activities would remain fragile until a vaccine is developed. Hence, much would depend on strict compliance with social distancing and healthcare measures as economies gradually re-opened. The Deputy Managing Director of Meristem, Sulaiman Adedokun, stated that while the rising number of daily infections pose a threat to economic activities, we expect a rebound of the domestic economy”.

Launching the outlook “Bracing the future” during a webinar attended by institutional investors, corporate clients, retail investors amongst other industry professionals, Sulaiman also commented on the equities market highlighting that “The equities market recovered from deep selloffs to finish as the best performing equities market last year, citing unattractive yields in the fixed income market, excess liquidity and a resilient corporate performance in the middle of a pandemic as major factors which drove the market.” “We expect these factors to persist thereby sustaining the positive momentum of the market through the better part of the year; in the first half of the year, we expect the financial market to be dominated by attractive dividend yields and the low yield in the fixed income market,” Sulaiman added.

The face of work has changed and many corporate organizations and their employees are rapidly adopting cutting-edge technology to meet the future of work in a COVID-19 era. While fielding questions from journalists about how the organization has deployed its business continuity plan, Sulaiman expressed that “The pandemic has influenced changes amongst people globally and we have enabled this change in our organization by utilizing the power of technology, we have also adopted a work from home culture that enables team collaboration through technology, we intend to maintain this even beyond the pandemic.”

Meristem offers a wide a range of services that cater to all classes of investors regardless of the stage in their financial journey, services like stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory help clients to access various opportunities within the capital market. Via Meritrade, an online stockbroking platform, investors can trade stocks from anywhere around the world as well as better manage their shares and enjoy access to the most exclusive market research.

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Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space. In 2018, the Nigerian Stock Exchange awarded Meristem as the Best Digital Broker of the Year. In the same year, Meristem also became the first Nigerian asset management firm to attain compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) by the CFA Institute. Still, in 2018, Meristem received two nominations from Business Day, for the best Money market Fund and Equity Fund.

The firm has remained a leading player in Nigeria’s competitive investment market with a solid reputation as a highly professional and client-centric firm, helping to take their clients farther.

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FG’s plans on economic growth depend entirely on business climate – Osinbajo

Osinbajo has stated that every plan of the government relating to economic growth depends greatly on the business climate in Nigeria.

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The Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has told heads of agencies that every plan of the government relating to economic growth, and improving job creation & opportunities, depends on the climate of doing business in Nigeria.

This was revealed by the media aide to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, in a social media statement on Wednesday, after the VP spoke at a PEBEC meeting where a survey presentation exposed pitfalls in some regulatory agencies which affected a conducive business environment in the country.

The Vice President said the business climate “determines whether they will invest their resources, expand their businesses, and it just determines practically everything.”

Osinbajo directed that all heads of MDAs of Nigerian regulatory bodies be presented with the outcome of the survey to get their feedback and seriously deal with the situation promptly because there must be accountability.

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What you should know: Nairametrics reported last week that Prof. Osinbajo, during an MSME stakeholders’ meeting, disclosed that the Federal Government, in partnership with the private sector, would continue to provide interventions to boost the growth of small businesses across the country.

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Malabu Oil Scandal: Prosecutors demand JPMorgan documents

U.S bank, JPMorgan has been ordered by a court to present documents of a transaction regarding the $1.3 billion Malabu oil field sale.

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Oil, DPR, FG announces commencement of bids for marginal oilfields despite court injunction

Prosecutors at the Milan Court holding a trial for the $1.3 billion Malabu oil field sale have demanded that U.S bank JPMorgan present documents of a transaction as part of the corruption case regarding the sale of the oilfield.

This was revealed in a report by Reuters, as the court case over the sale of the oil field continues. Prosecutors claim that nearly $1.1 billion was stolen by Nigerian politicians and middlemen, with former oil minister, Dan Etete, keeping half.

Prosecutors demanded that the Milan court accept emails sent by UK authorities, coming from a separate case launched by the Nigerian government against the bank for its role in the controversial deal.

The emails include a transaction between Nigerian Attorney General Mohammed Adoke Bello and JPMorgan using the address of a company owned by another Nigerian named Aliyu Abubakar. Prosecutors allege that he paid $500 million in cash as part of a bribe.

Both men have also been charged for corruption relating to the deal, with both pleading not guilty.

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The second email includes two JPMorgan executives expressing views on whether to transfer $1.1 billion to accounts related to Nigerian banks. The Milan prosecutors said the emails were valid, stating that a Swiss and Lebanese bank had also expressed doubts over the transaction.

The Milan court said it would make a decision over the emails on the 3rd of February. The verdict of the court case is expected to be announced in March 2020.

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported that Dan Etete, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum, said that the $1.3 billion sales of Malabu oil field to Shell and Eni in 2021 was legally perfect, with zero traces of corruption in the deal.
  • Royal Dutch Shell announced that it would write down its investment in the controversial Malabu OPL 245 offshore field in Nigeria.
  • Malcolm Brinded, an ex-Upstream Chief of Shell Petroleum, told international prosecutors that the sum of $1.3 billion paid by Shell and Eni in 2011 to acquire OPL 245 offshore field was lawful, and he had no reason to think it was illegal.
  • A lawsuit filed by the Nigerian government against US bank JPMorgan Chase, claiming over $1.7 billion for its role in a disputed 2011 Malabu oil deal, will proceed to trial. The six-week trial in London is expected to commence on the first available date after November 1 2021, meaning that proceedings may not begin until 2022.

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