Nigeria Central Bank hopeful of ‘equitable resolution’ over sanctions imposed on MTN, banks

Sep 20, 2018
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it was reviewing the information provided by Nigeria’s telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria, and four banks it recently sanctioned over illegal repatriation of funds.
 
The CBN disclosed in a statement by its Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okoroafor.
 
Recall that the CBN had on August 29 sanctioned MTN Nigeria and four banks – Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank – for allegedly issuing irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN.
 
The CBN had ordered MTN to refund a sum of $8.13 billion it repatriated, while the four banks were slammed a total of N5.87 billion, which it later deducted from their accounts.
 
The apex sanctioned Standard Chartered Bank the highest fine of N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria received a fine of N1.88 billion. Citibank Nigeria was ordered to pay a sum of N1.2 billion and Diamond Bank was penalized in the sum of N250 million for violating extant rules.
 
However, the telecommunication company and the four banks in separate statements denied wrongdoing.
 
But according to the statement by the CBN, it was engaging and reviewing additional information provided by the four banks owing to concerns raised over the sanctions it imposed on the banks.
 
“The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns.
 
“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution,” it stated.
 
CBN assured all investors that the integrity of the CCI regime remains sacrosanct and there shall be no retroactive application of foreign exchange rules and regulations.
 
It also added that “some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the NAFEX window, are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.
 
“Furthermore, the delegation of the issuance of CCIs to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.”
 
 
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