$8.1bn repatriation: CBN, MTN agree on out-of-court settlement

Wole Olanipekun, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and counsel to MTN, says his client has decided to pursue an out-of-court settlement with the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The telecommunications company had filed a suit to challenge a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria directing it to return the $8.1 billion that, according to the apex bank, was illegally repatriated.

Speaking in court on Tuesday, Olanipekun said his client has approached CBN for an amicable settlement and this was confirmed by Seyi Sowemimo, CBN’s lead counsel, who told the court that the negotiation was already in an advanced stage.

“We have advanced stages towards settlement, and it remains to cross the Ts and dot the Is; it is just for the report of a settlement,” he said.

Saliu Saidu, the justice presiding over the case, adjourned till December 12 for a report on the settlement.

NAN reports that MTN had filed the suit, seeking an injunction to restrain the CBN and AGF from taking further actions to reclaim the alleged debts.

The firm wants the court to hold that the CBN lacks the power to determine its civil obligations or penal liabilities. It is urging the court to declare that the CBN acted outside its statutory powers when it wrote a letter to it on August 18, demanding a refund of $8.1 billion.

It wants the court to hold that the demand was illegal, oppressive, abusive, unauthorised and unconstitutional.

On its part. CBN alleged that the telecoms firm improperly repatriated dividends, and requested that MTN should return $8.1 billion to its coffers.