The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele says a final decision has been reached on the $8.1 billion MTN Nigeria repatriation over which it was sanctioned in August.
Emefiele said this in response to a question on the matter at the November 2018 Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held yesterday in Abuja.
He justified the apex bank’s action on MTN and the four sanctioned banks, saying that there was a rational for the regulatory action.
The CBN had queried the process MTN used in repatriating $8.1bn profits to South Africa over nine years, describing it as illegal and a flagrant violation of Nigerian laws.
CBN thus ordered MTN and the four banks – Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Diamond Bank and Citibank Nigeria which helped in the repatriation of the funds – to return to the CBN coffers the $8.1bn being the illegally repatriated amount.
“There is rational for the decision we took. We expected certain documents to be submitted; those documents have now been submitted. We are in process of saying the matter has been resolved,” Mr Emefiele said.
He explained further that the CBN had meetings with the MTN Group’s representative who came from South Africa over the matter.
“We have held meetings with the MTN Group and we are at the verge, by this I mean, we are almost announcing the conclusion of the matter. I’m very optimistic we have reached the end of the road on this matter,” he said.
He, however, noted that “the sanctity of the CCIs being issued to foreign investors remained sacrosanct. No other company or individual is being investigated on CCIs. This is an isolated matter. I must also say there are other foreign investors in Nigeria, like Unilever, Nigeria Breweries etc who have been carrying CCIs for the past 50 years. They have done their business in the manner we are very happy about.
There are some issues with MTN but they are being resolved equitably, amicably and to the benefit of all.”
The CBN governor also warned banks against money laundering in this electioneering time and also advised against lending to politicians considering the high risk nature of such credits.