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MTN set to challenge Nigerian court decision over illegal funds transfers

A hearing in the court case between MTN and the central bank has been set for 30 October.

FILE: A man walks past a MTN notice board in Lagos on 27 October 2015. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG – MTN looks set to challenge in court the Nigerian Central Bank’s demand to pay $8.1 billion it says the operator illegally transferred out of the country.

A hearing in the court case between MTN and the central bank has been set for 30 October.

MTN has already faced a hefty fine in Nigeria over sim cards that weren’t cancelled.

The bank has claimed that MTN contributed to depleting the country's forex reserves through the purchase of dollars using unapproved certificates.

MTN in turn has denied this – despite claims by the central bank that it depleted Nigeria’s forex reserves – by then moving $8.1 billion abroad.

The mobile network company says in court papers that it paid the naira-equivalent to purchase the sum from the central bank in several tranches over a nine-year period and that it did not negatively impair reserves.

Nigeria is MTN's biggest market and accounts for a third of its annual core profit.

It’s, therefore, in its interests to sort out the dispute.

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