MTN Kicks, Shares Plunge 25%, Banks Call for Calm

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The shares of the MTN Group took a 25 per cent fall to a nine-year low of 86.50 rand Thursday, a day after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) imposed a hefty $8.1 billion fine on its Nigeria’s subsidiary, MTN Nigeria, for forex infractions.

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The shares, listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, had fallen by as low as 31 per cent during the day before recovering to its closing price.

The news of the massive shares fall came shortly after its telecom subsidiary denied its indictment by the CBN that it collaborated with Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria, Citibank, Stanbic IBTC and Diamond Bank Plc to illegally repatriate $8.134 billion between 2007 and 2015 from the country.

However, three of the four banks involved in the matter, Standard Chartered Bank, Diamond Bank and Stanbic IBTC, in separate statements Thursday, advised their investors and stakeholders not to panic, saying the matter would be resolved.

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The CBN had on Wednesday slammed a fine of N5.87 billion on the four banks over flagrant violation of extant laws and regulations of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.

The CBN had indicated that the highest fine of N2,470,604,767.13 was slammed on Standard Chartered Bank, while Stanbic IBTC Nigeria was fined N1,885,852,847.45.

For its punishment, Citibank got N1,265,541,562.31 fine, just as Diamond Bank was directed to pay N250 million for violating extant rules.

In line with the fine on the banks, the CBN also directed MTN Nigeria to immediately refund $8,134,312,397.63 illegally repatriated by the telecoms company to the coffers of CBN.

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