Contrary to speculation in some quarters that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) might soften the sanctions it imposed on four banks for helping MTN Nigeria Communications Limited illegally repatriate funds, the apex bank has debited the lenders’ ac-counts with the huge fines it slammed on them for the violation, New Telegraph learnt yesterday The regulator had, last week, announced that it had fined Standard Chartered Bank N2.4 billion; Stanbic IBTC, N1.8 billion; Citibank, N1.2billion and Diamond Bank, N250 million for allegedly assisting the telecoms giant to illegally move $8.13 billion abroad. It also ordered the lenders and MTN to immediately refund the repatriated sum. Following the public announcement of the fines, the four lenders had separately issued statements, indicating that they were prepared to engage with the CBN to resolve the issue.
However, New Telegraph gathered from a reliable source at the CBN that the banking watchdog had debited the accounts of the affected lenders with the fines. This means that Standard Chartered Bank’s account has been debited N2.4 billion, Citigroup’s N1.2 billion, Stanbic IBTC’s, N1.886 billion and Diamond Bank’s, N250 million.
The CBN usually debits the account of banks when it imposes a fine or to implement aspects of its monetary policies such as Cash Reserve Requirements (CRR) if such lenders do not comply. In a letter dated September 6, to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Stanbic IBTC, confirmed the development, informing stakeholders that the CBN had debited the full amount of the stated fine from the bank’s account with the apex bank. The letter, signed by the Group Company Secretary, Chidi Okezie, and Acting Head, Marketing and Communications, Bridget Oyefeso- Odusami, stated in part: “Following our earlier announcement to The Nigerian Stock Exchange on 30 August 2018, in respect of the penalty of N1.886 billion imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria on our banking subsidiary – Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc in relation to the remittance of foreign exchange on the basis of certain capital importation certificates issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, we write to update the NSE that the CBN has debited the account of our banking subsidiary with the CBN for the full amount of the above stated fine advised to the Bank.”
The lender further reiterated its position that it has not breached any extant laws relating to Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) executed on behalf of MTN, adding, it will continue to provide the […]