Reprieve for MTN Nigeria over alleged $2bn revenue indebtedness

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc on Friday said its case with the Federal Government over alleged revenue indebtedness of N242.24 billion and $1.28 billion had been withdrawn.

MTN Nigeria stated this in a regulatory filing to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) signed by its Company Secretary, Uto Ukpanah.

The company said its legal counsel received a letter from the Attorney General of the Federation, which formally withdrew the government’s demand for the funds.

“MTN Nigeria is pleased to report that its legal counsel has received a letter dated Jan.8 2020 from the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (the AGF) formally withdrawing the demand for N242,244,452,215.97 and $1.283,610,357.86 alleged revenue indebtedness,” the company said in a statement.

It said the letter confirmed that the AGF had referred the matter to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) with a view to resolving the contentious issues.

“MTN Nigeria will consequently follow due court process to withdraw its legal action against the AGF and engage with the FIRS and NCS on the issues.

“MTN Nigeria remains committed to conducting its business in accordance with applicable laws in Nigeria,” it said.

The statement quoted Mr Ferdi Moolman, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, as saying that the company was pleased with the decision of the AGF.

“We are very pleased with the decision of the AGF and we commend him for his wisdom.

“We maintain our dedication to building and maintaining cordial relationships with all regulatory authorities in Nigeria.

“And we remain fully committed to meeting our fiscal responsibilities and contributions to the social and economic development of Nigeria,” Moolman stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Lagos division of the Federal High Court adjourned the suit filed against Nigeria by MTN over the disputed claims of tax evasion to Jan. 30 and 31.

The telecoms firm had filed the suit against the government, following the demand by the AGF that MTN should pay the tax bill relating to the import of equipment and payments to foreign suppliers from 2007 to 2017.

The plaintiff was seeking among other declaratory reliefs, a declaration that the AGF’s demand of the sums of N242.24 billion and 1.28 billion dollars from MTN was premised on a process which was malicious, unreasonable and made on an incorrect legal basis.

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