The Central Bank of Nigeria has debited the accounts of three banks to the tune of N5.61bn, being the total amount of fines it imposed on them last week for alleged illegal repatriation of funds.
Last week, the regulator imposed N5.87bn fines on four banks for what it described as “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 four banks are Standard Chartered Bank (N2.47bn), Stanbic IBTC Nigeria (N1.88bn), Citibank Nigeria (N1.265bn) and Diamond Bank Plc (N250m).
It also directed the banks and MTN Nigeria Communications Limited to refund to the apex bank a sum of $8,134,312,397.63, which was said to have been illegally repatriated by the company.
While Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC Nigeria and Citibank Nigeria had paid the fines totalling N5.06bn, according to a report by Reuters, it was not clear as of Thursday if N250m was deducted from the Diamond Bank’s account by the CBN.
“Nigeria’s central bank has debited N2.4bn ($7.9m) in fines from Standard Chartered and N1.2bn from Citigroup for allegedly helping South African telecoms firm MTN move funds abroad,” the report stated.
Stanbic IBTC also confirmed this in a statement on Thursday, saying, “Following our earlier announcement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on 30 August, 2018, in respect of the penalty of N1.886bn imposed by the CBN on our banking subsidiary – Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc (the ‘bank’) in relation to the remittance of foreign exchange on the basis of certain capital importation certificates issued to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, we write to update the NSE that the CBN had debited the account of our banking subsidiary with the CBN for the full amount of the above stated fine advised to the bank.
“Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc as well as our banking subsidiary maintains our position on this matter, which is the fact that the bank has done nothing illegal and accordingly the bank will continue to provide the CBN with documents and details in support of our contention that our actions in relation to these transactions were not illegal.”
It added that the debit would not impact on its capacity to handle clients’ requests or clients’ ability to continue to carry out viable business transactions with either the bank or any member of the Stanbic IBTC Group.
“Our business transactions will continue to be handled professionally and in a manner that is aligned with Nigeria’s laws and regulatory guidelines,” it stated.
When contacted, Citi Bank declined to make any comment on the latest development.
The other banks contacted did not respond to telephone calls or messages sent to them as of the time of filling this report.