Banking

MTN Nigeria denies CBN claims on illegal repatriation of $8.1b

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MTN Nigeria denies CBN claims on illegal repatriation of $8.1b

 

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By Chiazo Ogbolu

Lagos, Aug. 30, 2018

MTN Nigeria on Thursday refuted the claims by the Central Bank of Nigeria that it illegally, in collusion with four Nigerian banks repatriated $8.1billion from its Nigerian operations to offshore investors.

The CBN said the remittances between 2007 and 2015, in tranches of of 2.63 billion dollars, 1.766 billion dollars and 348 million dollars were done in flagrant violation of the rule that says it can only be done with regular ‘Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs)’ issued by the apex bank.

The CBN said MTN did the repatriation after illegally converting shareholders’ loan of $399, 594,146 to preference shares.

As part of the sanctions, four banks, Stanbic IBTC Nigeria, Citibank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Plc, were fined by the CBN.

Standard Chartered Bank would pay a fine of N2.47 billion, Stanbic IBTC, N1.88 billion, Citibank Nigeria, N1.26 billion and Diamond bank, N250 million.

“MTN Nigeria received a letter on Aug 29 from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) alleging that Certificate of Capital Important (CCIs) issued in respect of the conversion of shareholders’ loans in MTN Nigeria to preference shares in 2007 had been improperly issued.

`As a consequence they claim that historic dividends repatriated by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 amounting to $8.1 billion need to be refunded to the CBN.

“MTN Nigeria strongly refutes these allegations and claims.

“No dividends have been declared or paid by MTN Nigeria other than pursuant to CCIs issued by our bankers and with the approval of the CBN as required by law,” he said.

Aina said that the issues surrounding the CCIs had already been the subject of a thorough enquiry by the Senate of Nigeria.

He added that in September 2016 the Senate mandated the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to carry out a holistic investigation on compliance with the Foreign exchange (monitoring and miscellaneous) Act by MTN Nigeria & Others.

He said that in its report issued in November 2017, the findings evidenced that MTN Nigeria did not collude to contravene the foreign exchange laws and there were no negative recommendations made against MTN Nigeria.

“MTN Nigeria, as a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, is committed to good governance and to abide by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The re-emergence of these issues is regrettable as it damages investor confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.

“We will engage with the relevant authorities and vigorously defend our position on this matter and provide further information when available.

CBN’s spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, said the apex bank has written MTN Nigeria demanding a refund of the $8.13 billion, repatriated.

The Bank resolved to sanction the commercial banks following investigations in March 2018, which confirmed allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria.

Edited by Fela Fashoro

Banking

CBN’s monetary policy creates virile banking sector — Access Bank boss

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Access Bank Executive Director Victor Etuokwu says various monetary policies by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created a virile banking sector, capable of safeguarding depositors’ funds.

Etuokwu said the monetary policies by the apex bank had also helped in sanitising the banking industry, restoring people’s confidence in the sector.

He spoke at the inauguration of a new Access Bank branch in Iree in Boripe Local government area of the state on Saturday.

“Banking is one profession that must be well regulated because people put their hard-earned money in it.

“I believe government and CBN has done well in that area because their concerns is all about safety of depositors’ money’’, Etuokwu said.

He added that the policy of Access Bank to spread branches in all the communities of Nigeria was rooted in the mindset that economy could not grow unless people were economically empowered.

Etuokwu noted that one of the ways in which local populace could be economically empowered was through bringing retail banking of that nature to their doorstep to stimulate access to credit facilities and business guidance.

He explained that in spite the inherent merit of internet banking, people still gave priority to face to face banking engagement.

He said: “We believe that internet banking is good, but branch network is also a good place for banking engagement because people still consider the need to engage in face to face transaction”.

Etuokwu said that Access Bank, in accordance with its branch network policy, would open another twelve branches within the South West zone in the next two weeks.

Earlier in his remarks, Gov. Gboyega Oyetola, said that his administration was committed to strengthen of the micro-economy through robust Small and Medium enterprises.

Represented by his Commissioner for Finance, Mr Bola Oyebamiji, Oyetola, said that one of the reasons his administration continued to work assiduously to create environment conducive for investors was to ban poverty among the populace.

The governor, however, said that the state was safe for commercial banks to do business, adding that the issue of internal security remained a cardinal consideration of policy formation and implementation in the state.

“One of the greatest economic measures to finance the economy and empower the people is through Small and Medium enterprises, which access bank is doing presently.

“What gives Osun a leverage on this is the utmost priority given to security for the purpose of entrenching factors for ease of doing business, in which security is integral’’, Oyetola said.

Edited by Kayode Olaitan

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NDIC pays N100bn liquidation dividends in 30 years—-MD

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) said it had paid over N100 billion as liquidation dividends to depositors of closed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), in the last 30 years, with amount in excess of insured deposits.

The NDIC Managing Director, Allhaji Umaru Ibrahim disclosed this on Saturday in Sokoto
during the corporation’s 30th Anniversary celebration organized by the Sokoto Zonal Office.

The Managing Director, who was represented by Allhaji Hashim Ahmad, said that the total liquidation dividends declared by the Corporation for shareholders of DMBs-in-liquidation stood at over N4 billion.

“To date, the NDIC has paid the cumulative sum of over N8.25 billion as insured amount to 442,999 depositors of closed DMBs.

“The sum of over N100 billion has been paid by the corporation as liquidation dividend to depositors of closed DMBs with amount in excess of insured deposits.

“Also, the corporation had paid a cumulative sum of over N2.97 billion to 83,415 depositors of Micro Finance Banks (MFBs), in the system,” he added.

According to the Managing Director, in the past 30 years, not only has the corporation discharged its role as an active player in the Nigerian financial safety-net.

“It also guaranteed the funds of depositors up to the maximum limit stipulated under its enabling Act.

“In conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Corporation has also meticulously discharged its role as a risk minimizer through its involvement in the supervision of insured institutions,” he said.

He said over the years, the corporation was able to evolve and introduce different failure resolution options such as the Purchase and Assumption mechanism as well as Bridge Bank.

“This ensures minimal disruption to the payment, in handling distressed financial institutions to the admiration of other Deposit Insurance Agencies in Africa and the rest of the World,” Ibrahim said.

He assured that the corportion will continue to support the laudable economic policies and programmes of the Federal Government, just as it celebrates its 30th anniversary of protecting depositors in the country.

He said that the Corporation remains resolute and fully committed to the diligent discharge of its role as an active component of the Nigerian financial safety-net.

“This is particularly in the area of engendering confidence and contributing to financial system stability.

“However, the NDIC will in the years ahead continue to partner and collaborate with relevant local and international agencies in that regard,” he said.

The NDIC board member, Alhaji Bello Garba, stated that the Corporation had been able to demonstrate the uncommon capacity for efficiency and effective performance.

“This is to the extent that as we gather here today, we can confidently state that it has effectively implemented its mandate,” he said.

Also speaking, the Sokoto State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mannir Dan’iya, represented by the Commissioner of Environment, Alhaji Sagir Bafarawa, pledged the state government’s continuous support to the NDIC Zonal Office in Sokoto.

The Sokoto Zonal Controller, Mr. Johnson Anifowose, reaffirmed the commitment of the zonal office to continue to discharge its duty of ensuring financial system stability.

Edited by Tukur Muntari.

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Banking

Ghanaian authorities have no intention to confiscate Nigerians’ money – High Commission

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Nigeria High Commission in Accra, Ghana has refuted social media report that Nigerians living in Ghana without resident permit will not be able to withdraw their money from the banks as from November.

A statement signed by the Head of Chancery, Abdulazeez Ibrahim, the Mission described the report as ‘fake news’.

The Mission, therefore, assured Nigerians with banking operations in Ghana to disregard the news, stressing “Relevant Ghanaian authorities have disclaimed such directives and appeal to all and sundry to remain calm.”

“The attention of the Nigeria High Commission in Ghana has been drawn to fake news circulating on social media insinuating that some unnamed Ghanaian authorities have issued a directive forbidding non-resident Nigerians from operating bank accounts in Ghana.

“The fake news purportedly advised such Nigerians to withdraw their money from the Ghanaian banking system in order to avoid being blocked as from November, 2019.

“It ended by advising Nigerians to “be wise and get your documents to avoid this storm seeping away all you have laboured for years in a day,” it said.

The High Commission, however, assured all Nigerians with banking operations in Ghana to remain calm. (NAN).


BJO/AFA

Edited by Felix Ajide

 

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Banking

Financial inclusion: First Bank to engage 500,000 agents

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The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), First Bank Nigeria PLC, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, said the bank will engage 500,000 agents across the country to ensure that its services were made available to people in every nook and cranny.

Adeduntan made this known on Tuesday at opening of the 12th Annual Banking and Finance Conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is “the future of Nigerian banking sector 360”.

The First Bank CEO said that the bank would support all effort to ensure effective financial inclusion in the country.

“We have a very ambitious plan to appoint about 500,000 agents across the nook and cranny of our country and to ensure that banking facilities and services are made available to our people.

“The Acting Governor of Central Bank, Joseph Nnanna, has also highlighted that the primary purpose for the Central Bank for choosing minimum loan to deposit ratio to 60 per cent is to stimulate the economy.

“This is because without credit, the economy cannot grow,” he said.

According to him, the banking sector remains the primary partners to government as far as economic growth and development are concerned.

He noted that change in the industry was unprecedented especially with the available technology and the leveraging on artificial intelligence, robotic operations, among others.

“If we do not integrate those opportunities and mainstream them properly the country and the entire economy will be left behind,” he added.

He called on participants to ensure robots participation in order to get blue print of what could help the sector for the growth and development of the economy.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Adeduntan is the chairman of the organising committee of the conference.

EMAF/DCU

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Banking

(Audio) CIBN scores Buhari administration high on banking regulation

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