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Business Why We Flouted Nigerian Law in Moving $14bn out of Nigeria - MTN CEO Explains

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, has issued a statement in reply to the grave accusations leveled against the firm by Nigerian Sen. Dino Melaye.

Dino had alleged that MTN had illegally moved $13.9bn out of Nigeria in the last 10 years. MTN outsmarted the Nigerian financial regulatory laws to obtain a CCI within 24 hours before moving the money out of the country without the required authorisation, he said.

According to him, the action was carried out in connivance with the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and four commercial banks, namely Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond Bank and Citi Bank. The senate is investigating the matter.

Replying, MTN's Ferdi Moolman said it was practically impossible for the company to comply with the 24 hours required to issue the CCI before moving funds.

He said the requirement to issue a CCI within 24 hours of conversion is only an "administrative requirement."

“As such, the CBN has the authority, and indeed we believe approved the banks’ applications to issue CCIs outside the recommended time frame.

“Often, for various reasons (such as not having all the required documentation for instance), it is not possible to issue a CCI within 24 hours, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Forex Manual contemplates such situations by asking that the banks refer to the CBN for approval.”

He said no dividends were declared or paid until the CCIs were issued and finalised, adding MTN Nigeria only requested for CCIs for Foreign Capital that was imported into Nigeria, and dividends were externalised on CCIs.

As the investigation commenced, MTN's shares fell, hitting a 6 year low.

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