CBN On Illegal Reparation

DECISIONS of the country’s apex bank, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN to harmer four banks and a major network provider in the country, MTN should be lauded by all lovers of this country.

THE  apex bank accused Standard charters, Stanbic IBTC, Diamond bank and  Citi bank of illegally helping MTN Nigeria repatriate a sum of $8.1 billion from Nigeria, and issuing irregular capital importation certificate on behalf of the South African company.

THE regulatory bank has consequently placed heavy sanctions on the affected banks.

STANDARD Chartered Bank is fined N2.4 billion, while Stanbic IBTC got sanctioned a sum of N1.8 billion. Citibank and Diamond Bank were sanctioned N1.2 billion and N0.25 billion respectively on what the CBN called “flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006”.

ACCORDING to the central bank , Standard Chartered Bank was accused of illegally repatriating about $3.4 billion ,Stanbic IBTC ,$2.6 billion while Citibank and Diamond Bank Plc were said to have helped the South African company move $1.7 billion and $348.9 million respectively.

THE CBN also said that its investigation revealed an illegal conversion of MTN shareholders’ loan to preference shares (interest free loan) of $399,594,146.00, totalling the sum of $8.1 billion that was illegally repatriated by the company.

THE banks, as well as MTN Nigeria have been asked to return total sum of $8.1 billion to CBN.

THE network provider has however denied CBN allegations. According to Funsh Aina, corporate Affairs, “ no dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law.”

AINA said that issues surrounding the CCIs had already been the subject of a thorough enquiry by the Senate of Nigeria.

WE therefore commend the central bank of Nigeria for sanctioning the banks and directed MTN and the banks concerned to return the money to the country.

OUR position is that a heavy sanction has to be meted on this network provider else, it would continue to hold the country in contempt.

WE recall that Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC in October 2015 imposed a fine of N1.04tn on MTN for irregular registration of subscribers but was reduced to N330 billion after a prolonged negotiations which involved former South Africa President, Jacob Zuma.

WE are of the belief that if MTN had paid the fine it won’t have engaged in any illegal transaction that would be detrimental to the country’s economic wellbeing

IT is a known fact that no company, not even foreign has the temerity to do such in MTN host country, South Africa. Such company and those involved would be prosecuted for economic sabotage.

WE thus enjoin the apex bank to shun any negotiation as regards payment of the fine and reparation of $8.1 billon into the country.

ALSO the affected banks should be made to face sanctions. We recommend that heads of those banks be relieved of their positions and also be prosecuted for economic sabotage.

HOW could one imagine that those Nigerians could act in a manner that is inimical to the economic wellbeing of their country. It is not only unheard of but also despicable.

THE HOPE calls on the government to a critical look at the activities of Nigeria banks with a view to prevent a future occurrence.

We based our position on the fact that most banks in the country have been engaging in activities detrimental to the wellbeing of the country.

WE  recall million of dollars changed by a new generation bank in the country which was shared by Independent Electoral Commission officials at the general elections in 2015.

THEREFORE for a lasting solution to the illegal activities of banks in Nigeria, government should not wave any action meted to the persons concerned and company(ies) involved.

MAINTAINING  this heavy sanction on MTN would send a clear signal to other foreign companies that era of business as usual is gone forever in the country.

IT would also show that the CBN has come to be enliven to its statutory responsibilities and thus bringing sanity to the nation’s financial institution.

WE commend the CBN and wish it continues in this direction.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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