MTN illegal transfer saga: Stanbic IBTC replies CBN

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By Odunewu Segun

One of the banks sanctioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for aiding telecom giant, MTN in the illegal transfer of $8.1bn from Nigeria to South Africa, Stanbic IBTC, has denied any form of wrongdoing.

Stanbic IBTC, which was fined N1.8bn for its involvement issued a statement on Monday detailing its innocence.

In the statement made available to National Daily, the bank said at no time did it use irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) to make remittances on behalf of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTNN) as alleged.

“It is pertinent to state that the twenty Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) transferred to our Bank by Standard Chartered Bank, which was in the above-quoted sum, were re-issued from existing CCIs that had been issued by Standard Chartered Bank to the original investors in MTNN.

“These CCIs were transferred to our Bank to facilitate the repatriation of the proceeds of the MTNN’s Private Placement, which took place in February 2008.

The statement stated that Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC was not involved in the conversion of the shareholder loans, nor did it carry out any amendments to the CCIs issued in respect of such loans to accommodate these conversions.

It stated that the other CCIs that related to private placement, and which were not issued at the same time as the CCIs under reference were also classified as “other purchases” on a DTR203 but were later re-classified in our monthly returns.

“The fact that we promptly reported them to you of our own accord clearly showed that there was no effort or intention to conceal the information regarding these 35 CCIs.

Stanbic IBTC argued in the statement that it was not aware, at the relevant time, that the affected investors in the MTN Private Placement had obtained foreign exchange loans from local banks for the purpose of their investments.

“Like all Issuing Houses selling shares, our responsibility was to determine that we were dealing with bona fide citizens who were applying for shares of a monetary value that was not out of line with their known income and wealth profile.”

Stanbic IBTC claimed that it acted in line with all known rules at the time regarding the issuance of CCIs on plants and machinery. It said the non-issuance to the CBN with the specified indemnities was a direct result of Standard Chartered Bank’s protracted delay in issuing Stanbic with the required indemnities specified by Memorandum 24(5) ii of the Foreign Exchange Manual, which would have then formed the basis for our indemnity to the CBN.