LAGOS – A Lagos judge on Thursday adjourned a hearing in a $2 billion dispute between South African telecoms firm MTN Group and Nigeria’s attorney general until Dec. 3.
MTN faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general, a claim which the company has said is without merit. The central bank has also accused the firm of illegally sending $8.1 billion abroad, which MTN has denied as well.
Africa’s biggest telecoms firm, which makes about a third of its annual core profit in Nigeria, currently has a market valuation of roughly $12 billion. The two disputes total $10.1 billion.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) on Wednesday said the country’s financial stability was threatened by the demands made of the telecoms firm by Nigerian authorities.
At the hearing next month, MTN will make its case that Nigeria’s attorney general exceeded his powers in demanding $2 billion in taxes and charges.
In a separate hearing on Dec. 4, MTN will make its case in court against the central bank’s demand for the return to Nigeria of $8.1 billion it said was illegally taken out of the country.
Reporting by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter