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MTN To Refund $8.13Bn As CBN Uncovers Serial Fraud In Four Banks

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MTN To Refund $8.13Bn As CBN Uncovers Serial Fraud In Four Banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed a N5.87 billion fine on Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank, and Diamond Bank over alleged illegal remittance of foreign exchange to offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited.

This is even as the  CBN has directed MTN to refund 8.13 billion dollars which was illegally repatriated by the company with the aid of the four Nigerian banks.

In a statement issued by the CBN on Wednesday, the nation’s apex bank accused the commercial banks of carrying out the transaction without regular ‘Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs)’ which is a compulsory pre-requisite for such transactions.

The CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor who issued the statement described the action of the banks and MTN as ‘flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,”.

Giving a breakdown of the imposed fines, Okorafor said Standard Chartered Bank would pay a fine of N2.47 billion, Stanbic IBTC, N1.88 billion, Citibank Nigeria, N1.26 billion and Diamond bank, N250 million.

Okorafor while explaining the banks’ offenses, disclosed that investigations by the CBN revealed that 3.45 billion dollars was repatriated by Standard Chartered Bank on the basis of illegally issued CCIs.

Similarly, he said the sums of 2.63 billion dollars, 1.766 billion dollars and 348 million dollars were repatriated by Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc, respectively during the period 2007 and 2015.

He said the CBN had directed the affected banks to pay the fines to the apex bank immediately.

Okorafor said that “the CBN investigation further revealed that on account of illegal conversion of MTN shareholders’ loan to preference shares (interest free loan) of $399,594,146.00, the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 was illegally repatriated by the company.

He advised all banks and multinational companies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.

He warned that failure by the management of banks and companies to abide by the existing guidelines, they would be appropriately sanctioned adding that the  sanctions may include denial of access to the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

African News

Tunisia’s Parliament Approves New 2019 Budget With No New Taxes

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Tunisia's Parliament Approves New 2019 Budget With No New Taxes

Tunisia’s parliament has approved a 2019 budget imposing no new taxes on individuals and easing the burden on some sectors after years of tax hikes that have stoked public anger and at times violent protests.

The budget, adopted by 113 votes out of 217, projected a fall in the deficit to 3.9 percent of the gross domestic product next year, from about 5 percent expected this year.

Prime minister Youssef Chahed said earlier this year that 2018 would be the last difficult year for Tunisians, but his government remains under pressure from the international monetary fund to trim the budget deficit by cutting subsidies and reforming the bloated public sector.

Budget analysts expect Tunisia’s economy to grow by 3.1 percent next year, up from an estimated 2.6 percent this year.

The government will cut taxes in half next year to thirteen and a half percent for companies operating in sectors including technology, textiles, engineering, and pharmaceuticals.

Taxes on bank profits were raised from 35 to 40 percent.

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Business News

Experts Support Trade Multilateralism

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Experts Support Trade Multilateralism

Several experts from different countries have voiced their support for multilateralism in trade.  They particularly pointed to china’s actions to promote cooperation based on win-win results.

Sanusha Naidu, a foreign policy analyst based in South Africa, said the recent G-20 summit has told the world the significance of multilateralism in trade which has played an active role for the global economy.

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African News

Saudi Arabia To Invest 100m Euros In Africa’s Sahel Region

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Saudi Arabia To Invest 100m Euros In Africa's Sahel Region

Saudi Arabia has pledged 100 million euros  to support priority investment programs in Africa’s Sahel region.

Saudi’s state minister for African affairs Ahmed Qattan made the announcement at a donors meeting for the five-member Sahel group, held in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott. The other countries making up the Sahel group are Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger.

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