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MTN: CBN promises ‘equitable resolution’ over sanctions imposed on telecom firm, banks

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MTN shares plunge after CBN sanction over $8.13 billion repatriation

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday said it has commenced a review of the information provided by telecoms giant, MTN, and four banks sanctioned recently over alleged illegal repatriation of funds.

The apex bank said the review of details submitted by the four banks, accused of helping the South African telecoms company to illegally repatriate $8.1 billion, is being done with a view to reaching an “equitable resolution.”

The central bank had on August 29 ordered MTN and the four banks to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleged the telecoms firm sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. The development affected shares in MTN which fell nearly a third in Johannesburg stock market after the announcement.

The apex bank thereafter fined and debited the four banks including Standard Chartered PLC, fined 2.4 billion naira ($7.86 million); Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, fined 1.8 billion naira; Citibank, fined 1.2 billion naira; and Diamond Bank PLC, fined 250 million naira.

The banks in separate statements denied wrongdoings. MTN also denied any wrongdoing. Shortly after the development, Nigeria’s attorney general, Abubakar Malami, imposed a $2 billion tax bill on the telecoms firm. In response to the tax demand, MTN filed a lawsuit accusing Mr Malami of exceeding his powers. The development has created ripples among experts, with concerns raised around the state of Nigeria’s business environment.

But on Wednesday, the apex bank said it is engaging and reviewing the information provided by the banks due to concerns raised after the sanctions were imposed.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) acknowledges the public interest over sanctions recently imposed on four deposit money banks (DMBs),” the statement, signed by Isaac Okorafor, CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, said.

“We wish to restate that the CBN will continue to welcome foreign investments and investors. Indeed, some of our recent innovations and reforms of the Foreign Exchange regime such as the introduction of the NAFEX window, are designed to simplify foreign exchange regulations.”

The bank noted that the delegation of the issuance of Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to commercial and merchant banks some years ago was done to instill confidence in the investor community and encourage the flow of foreign direct and portfolio investments into the Nigerian economy.

The recent sanctions on the banks arose due to irregularities with respect to repatriations made on behalf of MTN Nigeria Limited and were not in any way designed to restrict access to investor returns, it said.

“In response to the recent regulatory actions, the Banks and MTN are engaging the CBN and have provided additional information which is currently being reviewed with a view to arriving at an equitable resolution,” it added.

MTN’s latest troubles come about two years after it agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle a dispute over SIM cards in Nigeria, the telecoms giant’s biggest and by far most problematic market.

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Cloudy, sunny weather, thundery showers to prevail on Saturday – NiMet

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What the weather will look like on Friday - NiMet

The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted cloudy and sunny weather conditions with chances of thundery showers over most parts of the country on Saturday.

NiMet’s Weather Outlook by its Central Forecast Office (CFO) on Friday, predicted partly cloudy to cloudy morning over the central states with day and night temperatures of 29 to 33 and 18 to 23 degrees Celsius respectively.

It added that scattered thundery showers over Abuja, Nasarawa, Bida, Southern Kaduna, Minna and thunderstorms over Mambilla plateau and parts of Jalingo during the afternoon and evening period.

The agency predicted that Northern States would experience partly cloudy to sunny conditions during the forecast period.

It also predicted chances of thundery shower over Yelwa during the afternoon and evening hours with day and night temperatures of 35 to 37 and 21 to 25 degrees Celsius respectively.

According to NiMet, Southern States will experience cloudy conditions with slim chances of rains over the South East coast during the morning hours.

“Later in the day, there are chances of scattered thunderstorms over the region with day and night temperatures of 30 to 31 and 21 to 22 degrees Celsius respectively.

“Cloudy to partly cloudy conditions with chances of scattered thunderstorms and rainfall activities are expected over some parts of the country in the next 24 hours,” NiMet predicted.

(NAN)

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900 Nigeria Airways retirees die

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Nigeria Airways pensioners lament tedious verification procedure

Shu’aibu Alfa, Member Ministerial Committee on the verification of payment of retired Nigeria Airways workers, on Friday revealed that 900 retirees have so far died nationwide from 2004 till date.

Alfa, a captain, who is the Supervisor, Kano Verification Centre, made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano.

There are three centres where the ongoing verification exercise for the Nigeria Airways retirees are being conducted.

He said during the 15 years, no fewer than 900 of the retirees died, while the medical cases of some of them became worse, homes were broken and some were in situations beyond human imagination.

“The verification exercise has been going on very well, we made sure retirees were former staff of Nigeria Airways and we have their records.

“We ask questions and when they are certified, we clear them to start the verification process.

“In the verification team, we have people from the Ministry of Aviation, Ministry of Finance, Accountant General’s Office, Head of Service, EFCC, ICPC, PITAD and we also have our representatives on each desk,” Alfa said.

Mr Alfa, who was the Secretary, Nigeria Airways Pilots Association, commended President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Aviation and the Minister of Transportation, for approving the payment of their long awaited entitlement.

He also commended the support of the traditional rulers, religious leaders, political leaders and many other well-meaning Nigerians.

He appealed to the retirees to exercise patience during the exercise, as the committee was doing everything to ensure they were promptly screened.

(NAN)

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Lebanese convicted for currency trafficking in Nigeria

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Lebanese convicted for currency trafficking in Nigeria

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday secured the conviction one Haytham Aldahrah , a Lebanese who was arrested at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport while trying to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo for refusing to declare the sum $105,000 and €65,000 respectively to the Nigeria Customs Service.

Upon his arrest, Mr Aldahrah declared the sum of $95,000 (Ninety Five Thousand Dollars) but a search conducted on him, revealed that he was carrying a further sum of $105,000 (One Hundred and Five Thousand Dollars) which he concealed from the authorities.

When the convict was arraigned on October 16, he pleaded not guilty to the two count charge but, two days later changed his plea to ‘guilty’.

In view of his latest plea, prosecution counsel Mohammed Gambo urged the court to convict him accordingly.

Justice Allagoa granted the prayer of the prosecution and convicted the defendant on the two counts charge. The judge sentenced the convict to forfeit 50% each of the undeclared sum he was found with, that is $52,550 and €32,250 to Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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