Home > BANKING > CBN fines four banks N5.8bn, orders lenders, MTN to refund $8.1bn

CBN fines four banks N5.8bn, orders lenders, MTN to refund $8.1bn

The Central Bank of Nigeria has imposed heavy fines totalling N5.87bn on four banks under its regulatory purview for alleged illegal funds repatriation.

It also directed the managements of the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund to the apex bank $8,134,312,397.63, which was said to have been illegally repatriated by the company.

 

A statement from the CBN on Wednesday said it asked the banks and MTN to refund money for what it described as ‘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’.

The four banks that came under the sledge hammer of the CBN for the violations are Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC, Citibank and Diamond Bank.

The Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okorafor, said that the actions of the bank became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

“The CBN has therefore asked the managements of the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to immediately refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63, illegally repatriated by the company to the coffers of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it stated.

Figures obtained from the CBN on Wednesday indicated that the highest fine of N2.47bn was slammed on Standard Chartered Bank, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria was fined N1.885bn.

Citibank Nigeria was penalised to the tune of N1.265bn, just as Diamond Bank was directed to pay N250m for violating extant rules.

The CBN spokesman further disclosed that the decision of the bank followed its thorough investigations into the allegations.

Okorafor said the investigations revealed that the sum of $3.448bn was repatriated by Standard Chartered Bank on the basis of the illegally issued CCIs.

Similarly, he added that the sums of $2.632bn, $1.766bn and $348.914m were repatriated by Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc, respectively between 2007 and 2015.

Also Read This:  Port Efficiency: NIMASA DG Lists Game Changers to Make African Ports Competitive

He said the CBN had directed the affected banks to immediately refund the respective sums to the CBN.

“The CBN’s investigation further revealed that on account of illegal conversion of MTN shareholders’ loan to preference shares (interest free loan) of $399,594,146.00, the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 was illegally repatriated by the company,” the statement said.

He said that the investigations by the CBN took a while in order to carry out thorough inquiry and give a fair hearing to all parties involved.

Okorafor advised all banks and multinational companies in Nigeria to adhere strictly to the provisions of all extant laws and regulations of Nigeria in their foreign exchange transactions.

He warned that failure by the management of banks and companies to abide by the existing guidelines would be appropriately sanctioned, adding that the sanctions would include denial of access to the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

Several calls made by one of our correspondents to spokespersons for the affected banks and MTN were not responded to as of 9.30pm on Wednesday.

CBN’s letter to Standard Chartered Bank states, “Our investigation also revealed the following, among others:  i. The shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited invested the sum of $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2001 to 2006;

ii.  The investment was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfers and equipment importation, which was evidenced by the CCIs issued by your bank, Citi Bank (CB) and Diamond Bank (DB) at the initial stage of the investment.

iii. The CCIs issued at the time of investment by your bank along with the other banks in respect of the $402,590,261.03 showed that $59,436,923.44 was recorded/invested as shareholders’ loan and $343,153,339.56 as equity. This position was, however, contrary to the position in the financial statements of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for the year ended December 31, 2007, which revealed that $399,594,146.00 was invested as shareholders’ loan and $2,996,117.00 as equity investment, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement but contrary to the CCIs issued by your bank, Citi Bank (CB) and Diamond Bank (DB). Your action in this regard constituted a rendition of false returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Also Read This:  2019: Saraki appoints Doyin Okupe to coordinate Media campaign

CBN’s letter to Stanbic-IBTC states, “Our investigation also revealed the following, among others:

i, The shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited invested the sum of $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2001 to 2006;

ii. The investment was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfers and equipment importation, which was evidenced by the CCIs issued by Standard Chartered Bank, Diamond Bank and Citibank, out of which eight of the CCIs totalling $377,216,508.30 were transferred to your bank by Standard Chartered Bank. Consequently, your bank repatriated the sum of $929,051,331.83 as proceeds of divestment from the CCIs valued at $42,704,408.61.

iii. On account of the illegal conversion of the shareholders loan to preference shares (interest free loan) of $399,594,146.00, the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 was illegally repatriated by your bank and the other banks on behalf of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited between 2007 and 2015.”

CBN’s letter to CitiBank says, “Our investigation also revealed the following, among others:

i. The shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited invested the sum of $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2001 to 2006;

ii. The investment was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfer and equipment importation evidenced by the CCIs issued by your bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Diamond Bank;

iii. The CCIs issued by your bank along with the other banks in respect of the $402,590,261.03 showed that $59,436,923.44 was recorded/invested as shareholders’ loan and $343,153,339.56 as equity at the time of the investment. This position was, however, contrary to the position in the financial statements of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for the year ended December 31, 2007, which showed that $399,594,146.00 was invested as shareholders’ loan and $2,996,117.00 as equity investment, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement but contrary to the CCIs issued by your bank, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) and Diamond Bank (DB). Your action in this regard constituted a rendition of false returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria…

Also Read This:  23 members of Kwara Assembly dumps APC for PDP

“Your bank failed to comply with extant regulations on the issuance of letter of indemnity to the CBN in addition to forwarding the transaction history of the CCIs to the CBN, as provided in Memorandum 24(5)(ii)(b) of the Foreign Exchange Manual in respect of the CCIs received by your bank from Standard Chartered Bank.”

CBN’s letter to Diamond Bank says, “Our investigation also revealed the following, among others:

i.  The shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited invested the sum of $402,590,261.03 in the company from 2011 to 2016;

ii.  The investment was carried out through the inflow of foreign currency cash transfer and equipment importation, which was evidenced by the CCIs issued by your bank, Citi Bank and Standard Chartered Bank;

III. The CCIs issued illegally by your bank along with the other banks in respect of the $402,590,261.03 showed that $59,436,923.44 was recorded/invested as shareholders’ loan and $343,153,339.56 as equity. This position was, however, contrary to the position in the financial statements of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited for the year ended December 31, 2007, which showed that $399,594,146.00 was invested as shareholders’ loan and $2,996,117.00 as equity investment, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement but contrary to the CCIs issued by your bank, Citi Bank (CB) and Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). Your action in this regard constituted a rendition of false returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

Share Button

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *