Nigerian court rejects application to freeze MTN accounts: report

MTN staved off an attempt by the Nigerian government to freeze its accounts, after the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday turned down the application on Tuesday.

This is according to Nigerian scribe, This Day, which reported that the application was aimed at preventing the mobile operator from emptying its accounts in 21 commercial banks in the country.

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) fined MTN ₦1.04-trillion (around R71-billion at the time) in October 2015 for not disconnecting unregistered SIMs on its network.

After negotiations with Nigerian authorities, the fine was reduced by 25% to ₦780-billion.

MTN then opted to take the matter to court in Lagos, thereby missing a 31 December deadline imposed by the Nigerian government.

A 14-paragraph affidavit argued that MTN was in the habit of repatriating its funds out of Nigeria. The affidavit stated that between October 2007 and May 2009, MTN repatriated $7.7 billion made in Nigeria to a foreign account.

The judge however, turned down the application stating that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) did not have enough evidence to indicate that MTN would empty its accounts.

Shares in MTN were up marginally in early trade on the JSE on Wednesday, to R122.94.

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Nigerian court rejects application to freeze MTN accounts: report