N3bn Fundamental Rights Suit: Court Strikes Out MTN’s Case Against AGF



The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a N3bn fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by telecommunications firm, MTN Nigeria, against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke struck out the suit after being told by Malami’s Counsel, Habibat Ajana that the AGF by a letter dated January 8, 2020, had reviewed the issue against MTN and decided to withdraw its demand letter for a $2bn tax.

MTN’s lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), responded by saying that having withdrawn the demand letter, his client would drop its fundamental rights suit against the AGF.

Justice Aneke, therefore, struck out the suit.

READ ALSO: MTN Files 9,100-Page Document To Prove N3bn Suit Against AGF

In the suit, MTN had asked the court to award N3bn against the AGF for rights infringement.

The telecommunications firm filed the suit to challenge an August 20, 2018 letter written to it by the AGF, demanding $2bn alleged unremitted tax.

The AGF in its letter had accused the MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports and had subsequently asked it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.

Through its counsel, Olanipekun, MTN had argued that the AGF acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities from 2007 to 2017.

MTN had also challenged the AGF’s authority to deal with issues around tax and customs duties which it said should be the responsibility of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).

MTN Files 9,100-Page Document To Prove N3bn Suit Against AGF

Alleged $1.3bn Tax Assessment: Court To Rule On AGF, MTN’s Case In May


MTN Nigeria Communication Limited has filed a 9,100-page document in court to prove its N3bn claim against the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

Copies of the bulky document were brought in a coaster bus and delivered to the registry of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday.

The telecommunications firm had last year sued Malami over a letter in which he demanded that they pay N242bn and $1.3bn as import duties, withholding and value-added taxes – a move which the firm’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), described as ‘malicious, unreasonable and one made on an incorrect legal basis’.

According to Olanipekun, Malami acted beyond his powers and violated the provisions of Section 36 of the constitution on fair hearing with “the purported revenue assets investigation” he carried out on the firm’s activities covering 2007 to 2017.

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He, therefore, urged the court to award N3bn against Malami as general and exemplary damages.

The trial judge, Justice C.J. Aneke, had in May dismissed the preliminary objection filed by Malami, challenging the competence of the suit.

“From the endorsement on the writ, this suit was commenced on September 10, 2018 and a simple calculation shows that from August 23, 2018 when the cause of action arose to September 10, 2018, when the suit was instituted, a period of three months had not expired, as envisaged, for the suit to be statute barred,” Aneke ruled.

At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, the case, however, stalled with Justice Aneke adjourning till January 30, 2020.

Xenophobic Attacks: MTN Closes Outlets Across Nigeria

Alleged 10bn Sanction: MTN, FG Settle Out Of Court


South African telecoms operator MTN has announced the closure of all its stores and service centres in Nigeria until further notice.

The company said in a statement that the decision to close its services is in reaction to recent attacks on its facilities in three states.

READ ALSO: Xenophobia: Sue South African Govt, Falana Tells FG

The telecoms provider says the safety and security of its customers, staff and partners is its primary concern.

MTN also condemned the attack on Nigerians and other foreigners in south Africa, promising that they remain committed to ensuring peaceful and harmonious relationship among communities in Africa.

EFCC Probes MTN’s Listing

Alleged 10bn Sanction: MTN, FG Settle Out Of Court


Telcoms giant MTN has said its listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is the subject of an enquiry by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

MTN, which was listed on the Exchange last week, however, said it had not been accused of any wrongdoing by the EFCC.

According to a statement by the Company Secretary, MTN, Uto Ukpanah, which was posted on the NSE’s website, the telecoms giant received a letter from MTN on Thursday requesting information and documentation related to the listing of its shares.

Stressing that it has not been accused of wrongdoing, the company said, “We wish to reiterate that we received all regulatory approvals required to list our shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as publicly confirmed by the Nigerians Stock Exchange and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“As a law-abiding and responsible corporate citizen, we are co-operating fully with the authorities. We are committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

MTN Lists Shares On Nigerian Stock Exchange

Photo: [email protected]


Telecommunications giant MTN Nigeria has listed 20 billion ordinary shares at N90 per unit on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The official listing of the Johannesburg-based company took place on Thursday at the Stock Exchange House in Lagos.

Chairman of MTN Nigeria, Dr Paschal Dozie, led the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ferdi Moolman, and other top members of staff of the company to the event.

READ ALSOSenate Passes Bill Recognising June 12 As Democracy Day

The price values the telecoms company at N1.84 trillion.

MTN Nigeria decided to list its local company in the country on the NSE in 2016 after agreeing to pay a $1.7 billion fine to settle a sim card dispute with the Federal Government.

Nigeria accounts for a third of MTN’s annual core profit while indigenous investors own 19.4 per cent of the company.

See photos from the event below:

Photo: [email protected]

SEC Approves MTN’s 20.35bn Ordinary Shares On NSE


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has approved the application by MTN Nigeria to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by way of introduction.

This was confirmed by the Head, Corporate Communication, SEC, Efe Ebelo on Wednesday.

Ebelo said the commission approved the listing after MTN had successfully completed the registration of 20,354,513,050 billion ordinary shares of N0.02 kobo.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC can confirm that the application by MTN Nigeria to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by way of introduction has been approved.”

READ ALSO: CBN To Slam Fine On Banks For Breaching Counterfeit Notes Law

According to Acting Director General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, “MTN sought to come to the market by way of an introduction and they wrote to the SEC last week requesting for approval to register its existing shares. That approval has now been granted”.

The statement informed that SEC had received an application from MTN requesting registration of their existing securities.

MTN Appoints Emir Of Kano As Non-Executive Director

Emir Of Kano Decries North's Poor Educational System
Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II (file photo)


Nigeria’s telecoms giant, MTN has appointed a former Central Bank governor and current Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi as a Non-Executive Director effective July 1, 2019.

The appointment of the Emir is part of a board room shake-up at Africa’s biggest wireless carrier, which will also see the on-boarding of South Africa’s former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas as a new group chairman.

READ ALSO: CBN To Slam Fine On Banks For Breaching Counterfeit Notes Law

In Nigeria, the appointment of the vocal former CBN chief Sanusi comes as MTN prepares to list its local unit on the Nigerian stock exchange, a condition of the settlement of a $1 bn regulatory action three years ago.

MTN also announced a separate board of prominent people to advise on broader African issues, which will be headed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki and includes John Kufuor, a former president of Ghana.

Alleged $1.3bn Tax Assessment: Court To Rule On AGF, MTN’s Case In May

Alleged $1.3bn Tax Assessment: Court To Rule On AGF, MTN’s Case In May


A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed May 7 for ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, against telecoms giant, MTN.

In September 2018, MTN had instituted a suit to challenge the legality of the AGF’s assessment of its import duties, withholding tax and value-added tax in the sums of N242bn and $1.3bn.

The AGF had, however, contended that MTN’s suit was instituted outside the time prescribed by law.

At Tuesday’s proceedings, counsel to the AGF, Tijani Gazali, who argued the preliminary objection urged the court to strike out the suit filed by MTN.

Gazali argued that the power of the AGF to write a letter to MTN for the payment of the import and withholding tax was included under Section 2A of the Public Officers Protection Act.

He said, “MTN filed this case as a result of a letter written by the AGF asking MTN to the pay tax due to the Federal Government of Nigeria over the past 10 years, but rather than responding to this directive they instituted this case.”

In the preliminary objection, the AGF’s counsel argued that the plaintiff in seeking redress on the subject matter, has just three months – from the date the cause of action arose – to institute the action.

He contended that the plaintiff commenced the suit in clear disregard of Section 2 of the Public Officers Protection Act, which provided that any action commenced against a public officer must be made within three months from the commencement of a cause of action.

The Gazali said the plaintiff’s failure to commence the suit within three months as stipulated by law robbed the court of jurisdiction to entertain the suit.

He, therefore, urged the court to strike out or dismiss the suit.

MTN, through its lawyers, led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wole Olanipekun, told Justice Chukwujeku Aneke that the objections of the AGF was unfounded.

Olanipekun contended that the era of claiming that a suit was stature barred had been abolished in the Nigerian jurisprudence.

He cited Order 29 Rule 4 to the effect that the preliminary objection of the AGF was filed out of time and since there was no application for extension of time, it must fail.

The SAN also submitted that there was no competent application before the court.

He argued that the court cannot at this stage dismiss or strike out the suit without the evidence of parties.

Olanipekun then asked the court to dismiss the objection as being frivolous.

After listening to the arguments of both parties, Justice Aneke fixed May 7 for his ruling.

Alleged $8bn Sanction: MTN, FG Settle Out Of Court

Alleged 10bn Sanction: MTN, FG Settle Out Of Court


The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has entered as judgement the settlement terms in a suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited against the Federal Government.

MTN had challenged the $8,134,312,397.63 demanded from it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged forex remittance infractions.

In the suit, the telecoms firm asked the court to restrain the CBN and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from imposing punitive sanctions on it.

On the other hand, the apex bank had accused MTN Nigeria of improper dividend repatriations and demanded that $8.1 billion be returned “to the coffers of the CBN”.

When the case came up in court on Thursday, MTN’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, informed Justice Saliu Saidu that parties have resolved the dispute amicably.

He said the terms of the settlement were filed in on December 28, 2018.

CBN’s counsel, Mr Henry Ejiofor, also confirmed to the judge that both parties have settled out of court.

He, thereafter, urged the court to enter the terms of settlement as judgment.

In his ruling, Justice Saidu thanked the parties for not wasting precious judicial time by going through the rigours of a trial.

He adopted the terms of settlement as the judgment of the court and struck out the AGF’s name from the suit.

The terms of the settlement were not read in open court and Channels Television was unable to get a copy of the document as at the time of this report.

However, we will keep you updated as soon as we get the details.

The Federal Government had accused MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports, asking it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.

According to the CBN, MTN and four banks deliberately flouted the “laws and regulations … including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”

The banks allegedly colluded with MTN, using irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI) to illegally remit foreign exchange abroad.

The four banks were slammed with a combined N5.87 billion fine.

MTN had denied the allegations and subsequently filed the suit to challenge it.

MTN To Offer Nigerians Mobile Banking Services In 2019

MTN Reacts To CBN Sanction, Insists Paid Dividends Were Approved


MTN Group will apply for a mobile banking license in Nigeria and launch a service there next year, its CEO said on Tuesday, further embedding the South African telecoms company in its biggest but increasingly problematic market.

“We will be applying for a payment service banking license in Nigeria in the next month or so, and if all goes according to plan, we will also be launching Mobile Money in Nigeria probably around Q2 of 2019,” Rob Shuter told a telecoms conference in Cape Town.

MTN, Africa’s biggest telecoms company, has faced challenges in Nigeria where it has been ordered by the central bank to return $8.1 billion which the bank said was illegally sent abroad, and in a separate case has been slapped with a $2 billion tax bill in Nigeria. It is in talks with the central bank about the $8 billion fund transfer.

The success of mobile money over in East Africa, pioneered by Kenya’s Safaricom, has convinced investors and the industry that financial services is the next growth area for telecoms to offset falling prices for basic services.

Shuter, who has led MTN since last year, also said the company would relaunch mobile money services in South Africa, two years after canning the service. The company has also bought a music streaming business Simfy, which Shuter said was “Africa’s leading music streaming business.”

CBN Adopts Softer Tone On MTN

Bayelsa NSCDC Uncovers Plot To Attack MTN


Nigeria appears to have taken a softer stance on Africa’s leading mobile operator MTN, assuring stakeholders that a dispute over the repatriation of $8.13 in dividends will be “resolved”. 

Talking to reporters in Abuja following a monetary policy committee meeting on Tuesday, Nigeria’s central bank governor Godwin Emefiele said: “we’ll resolve the matter.”

“Everyone will be happy,” Emefiele was quoted as saying by Bloomberg News.

In August, Nigeria shocked South Africa’s MTN and foreign investors when it ordered the telecoms giant to pay back $8.13 billion (6.96 billion euros) that it allegedly illegally took out of the country, and fined four banks involved in the transfer.

Days later, in early September, President Muhammadu Buhari’s attorney general followed up with another $2 billion tax fine.

With the economy still fragile after a deep recession in 2016 and elections looming early next year, many private sector players in Nigeria believe the move could dent investor sentiment.

It is not the first time MTN has been sanctioned by the Nigerian authorities.

In 2015, MTN was fined $5.2 billion by Nigeria’s telecoms regulator NCC for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards on its network.

The fine was later reduced to $1.7 billion after a series of negotiations with the Nigerian government.


Alleged Illegal Repatriation: CBN Deducts N5.61bn From Three Banks

Nigeria's Foreign Exchange Inflow Hits $91b In 2017 – CBN


The Central Bank of Nigeria has deducted a total of N5.61 billion from the accounts of three banks as fines it imposed on them last week for alleged illegal repatriation of funds for telecoms giant, MTN.

According to a report by Reuters, the three banks include Standard Chartered which was debited N2.47 billion, Stanbic IBTC N1.88 billion, and Citibank Nigeria N1.26 billion.

Although four banks were sanctioned last week by the regulator, it is not yet clear if the N250 million fine on Diamond Bank was deducted from its account by the CBN.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank and Citibank have confirmed the deductions and notified their parent companies in South Africa and the United States about the development, pledging full co-operation with the CBN to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

Stanbic IBTC also confirmed the deduction in a statement on Thursday.

The bank said, “Following our earlier announcement to The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on 30 August 2018, in respect of the penalty of N1.886 billion imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on our banking subsidiary – Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC (the Bank) in relation to the remittance of foreign exchange on the basis of certain capital importation certificates issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, we write to update the NSE that the CBN has debited the account of our banking subsidiary with the CBN for the full amount of the above-stated fine advised to the Bank.

“Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, as well as our banking subsidiary, maintain our position on this matter, which is the fact that the Bank has done nothing illegal and accordingly the Bank will continue to provide CBN with documents and details in support of our contention that our actions in relation to these transactions were not illegal.”