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Embattled MTN denies owing Nigeria tax arrears

Nigeria’s wars with South African mobile phone giant MTN seems far from over with the latter denying owing the West African state tax arrears.

MTN corporate relations executive Tobe Okigbo said the company believes that it had settled all amounts owed under the taxes in question.

“Following the receipt of the letter from the Central Bank of Nigeria on foreign exchange repatriation, MTN Nigeria has provided an update on the company’s position on the issue.

“MTN continues to strenuously deny the allegations being made by the Central Bank of Nigeria and has equally strenuously rejected the findings of the Attorney General’s investigation and believes it has fully settled all amounts owing under the taxes in question,” he said in a statement.

Illegal repatriation

While still enmeshed in the controversy of illegal repatriation of $8.1 billion, MTN Nigeria has been directed to pay $2 billion accumulated import duties Value Added Tax (VAT).

The company has also been ordered to pay withholding taxes on foreign imports and payments.

CBN last week ordered MTN to refund the $8.1 billion, which it allegedly illegally repatriated.

CBN also sanctioned some five banks alleged to have assisted in the illegal transfer of the money.

Stock exchange

Mr Okigbo said it was both regrettable and disconcerting that despite the historic engagements with the Nigerian authorities, the senate investigations and the multiple tax assessments, the matters were being reopened.

MTN is Africa’s largest mobile phone company, with Nigeria as its largest market.

In 2016, it agreed to pay Nigeria $1.7bn over failing to disconnect unregistered Sim cards.

The latest controversy saw the MTN shares on the Johannesburg stock exchange dip on Tuesday, reaching a low of almost 10 years.

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