Nigeria’s central bank wants interest paid on money it claimed MTN moved illegally

Nigeria’s central bank wants telecommunications giant MTN Group to pay 15 percent interest per year on the $8.1 billion the regulator claimed MTN had taken out of the country illegally until the courts make a judgment and a further 10 percent from when a judgement has been made until the whole amount is paid.

The central bank said in a court document seen by Bloomberg that the money moved out of the country might have been “premeditated and contrived as a scam to make and maximize profits, defraud the Federal Republic of Nigeria and to enjoy unlimited foreign-exchange income perpetually from a single investment without complying with the foreign-exchange laws and regulations of Nigeria.” It, therefore, prayed that the court should not grant an injunction that will stop MTN from refunding the $8.1 billion.

MTN had in September sought relief from the court on the matter as it continued talks with the central bank.

The regulator’s position in the court documents makes light of the Governor Godwin Emefiele’s statement last week that the matter will be resolved soon in a way that makes everyone involved happy.

MTN

MTN’s stock had only just started recovering following the loss of more than 30 percent of its value after the claim by the central bank. The company’s shares started poorly on Friday losing more than 9 percent in the first few minutes of trading.

The telco had recently raised doubts about a planned Nigeria IPO citing unfavourable market conditions.