A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today adjourned till January 22, 2019 for report of settlement of the dispute between MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and the Central Bank of Nigeria over the controversial repatriation of $8.1bn profits from Nigeria.
When the matter came up for hearing today, the lead counsel for MTN Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN, told the trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu that on the last last adjourned date parties informed the court of the ongoing discussion to settle the dispute out of court.
Olanipekun added that the talk is still ongoing and progressing and pray for the indulgence of the court to grant further adjournment to enable parties concludes their talks.
He thereafter, informed the court that counsel in the matter have agreed to come back on January 22, 2019 so as to brief the court on the level of progress reached on the negotiations.
Counsel to the defendants, Mr Seyi Sowemimo, SAN, and Oluwakemi Cambel also agreed with the position of the plaintiff’s counsel.
Sequel to the application for adjournment, Justice Saidu adjourned the matter till January, 22, 2019 for report of settlement.
Parties to the dispute, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on the last adjourned date informed the Federal High Court, Lagos presided over by Justice Saliu Saidu that they have resolved to go for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute on the alleged controversial repatriation of over $8.1bn profits from Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the CBN had on August 29, this year sanctioned four banks with various fines totalling about N5.87 billion for allegedly violating sections of the country’s foreign exchange regulations by facilitating the controversial repatriation of profits from Nigeria on behalf of MTN Nigeria.
Part of the repatriated funds was, a few years later, brought back into the country by the banks, ostensibly on behalf of some MTN offshore investors in the form of shareholders’ loans and equipment.
The four banks are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank, were accused of “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”
However, MTN was directed by CBN to carry out a reversal of the transaction and return the entire $8.1bn to Nigeria and follow the due process of repatriation of the funds.
The telecom firm in its defence, rejected the directive, insisting it did not commit any crime to warrant sanction and on September 10, instituted an action at the Federal High Court, Lagos against the CBN to contest the sanction.