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Nigeria: MTN-CBN nears out-of-court settlement

Nigeria: MTN-CBN near out-of-court settlement

Indications are strong that telecoms operator MTN and Nigeria's finance sector regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will soon reach an agreement regarding the allegation of improper repatriation of over US$8 billion levelled against the operator.

In August 2018 ITWeb Africa reported that four local banks were fined approximately NGN6 billion related to the illegal repatriations, according to officials.

On 4 December 2018, MTN's legal counsel Wole Olanipekun told the Federal High Court in Lagos that the operator and CBN have opted for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute.

This was corroborated by Counsel representing CBN, Seyi Sowemimo who said discussions are at advanced stage.

"We have advanced towards out-of-court settlement. What remains is to 'cross the t's and dot the i's'. It is just to present a report of settlement," Sowemimo told the court.

The matter has been adjourned to 12 December when the report of settlement agreed to by both parties will be presented to court.

This development confirmed ITWeb Africa's October 2018 report that both parties were nearing settlement when Nigerian government officials looked to reassure foreign investors.

In November 2018, Rob Shuter, MTN Group's CEO, was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:

"We are narrowing down what the key issues are in an ongoing discussion with Nigeria's central bank and other institutions. We would like a resolution out-of-court and with normal engagements as that would be faster than a court process," he said.

Despite the issues the company is facing in Nigeria, which reduced the value of its shares, MTN remains the market leader and controls about 40% of the market share as at the end of October 2018 according to figures released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

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