MTN: 10,116 0 (0.00%)
Nigeria and MTN trade legal arguments over $2bn tax bill
LAGOS, March 26 (Reuters) - 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. 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.
The case was adjourned until May 7.
MTN is Africa's biggest telecoms firm and Nigeria is its
largest market, accounting for a third of its annual core
profit. However, the west African country has proven to be
problematic for the company in the last few years.
In December, MTN agreed to make a $53 million payment to
resolve a separate dispute in Nigeria after the central bank
ordered the company and its lenders to bring back $8.1 billion
it alleged was illegally repatriated using improperly issued
paperwork between 2007 and 2008.
The settlement ended a four-month multi-billion dollar
dividend repatriation row that had hammered its share price.
(Reporting by Didi Akinyelure and Alexis Akwagyiram; editing by
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