Nigeria turns up the heat on MTN


There are new indications showing that Nigeria’s largest mobile carrier, MTN will be facing tougher legal fireworks with Nigerian authorities.

Federal lawyers representing Nigeria’s attorney general on Tuesday appeared in court to argue that telecoms company MTN Group did not have grounds to oppose a $2 billion tax bill, legal teams for both sides said.
MTN faces the demand from the country’s attorney general, a claim which the company has said is without merit.

It appears the Nigerian government will be pursuing a tax evasion suit against the mobile carrier.

Nigeria handed MTN the tax bill in September, but the company said the attorney general had exceeded his powers in making the demand.
Legal arguments were heard from both sides at a court in commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday.

Tijani Gazali, a lawyer representing the attorney general, said MTN did not file its legal opposition to the demand within the required three-month timeframe whereas Wole Olanipekun, representing the telecoms firm said that was not the case.

It would be recalled that MTN agreed to pay N330 billion in regulatory fines in 2016 after the mobile carrier was sanctioned by Nigeria’s telecoms regulator for not deactivating about 5 million lines.

While MTN has since regained its profitable position by declaring a N1 trillion revenue as at 2018 year end, there are more challenges ahead for the company particularly regarding its planned listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.

MTN plans to list up to 30% of its shares on the exchange, a move that could see the company become Nigeria’s largest company by market capitalization.