Telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria has claimed that all dividends it paid to its shareholders between 2007 and 2015 were approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The telecoms company was reacting to the claim by the apex bank that it illegally converted shareholder loans to preference share and repatriated $8.1 billion as dividends during the period under scrutiny.
The company said it only declared and paid dividends with Certificates of Capital Importation issued by its bankers with the approval of the CBN.
The telecom company said in a statement issued on Thursday morning from its media and corporate affairs desk;
“MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) received a letter on August 29, 2018, from CBN alleging that CCIs issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders’ loans in MTN Nigeria to preference shares in 2007 had been improperly issued. As a consequence they claim that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria, between 2007 and 2015 amounting to $8.1bn need to be refunded to the CBN,”
“MTN Nigeria strongly refutes these allegations and claims. No dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law.”
The company said the issues regarding the CCIs were the object of investigation by the Senate in 2016, adding that the findings by the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions indicated that it did not contravene forex laws.
MTN Nigeria stated it regretted the re-emergence of the issue, saying “it damages investors’ confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”