The Human and Environmental Development Agenda has secured the approval of the Federal High Court to proceed in a Freedom of Information case against the Central Bank of Nigeria.

HEDA had approached the court over the improper repatriation against MTN.

HEDA noted that the contract and agreement between the telecommunication company and Central Bank of Nigeria had remained shrewd in secrecy with contents and conditions known only to actors in the negotiations and their few lawyers to date.

HEDA stated that the CBN in 2018 had revealed that MTN Nigeria illegally repatriated foreign exchange of about $8.13bn with irregularly issued Certificates of Capital Importation by some commercial banks. 

It said the telecoms firm also converted its shareholders’ loan to preference shares without fulfilling the requisite conditions.

However, HEDA noted that there was a heavy reduction in the repatriation, alleging that the charge of improper repatriation leveled against MTN Nigeria was resolved to the tune of $52.6m as against $8.13bn earlier reported. 

HEDA said that the resolution prompted the organisation to invoke the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 to demand details of the agreement. 

“The CBN responded to the request but failed to supply the requested information,” HEDA disclosed. 

The rights organisation thereby filed an originating motion at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on July 2, 2019 seeking leave to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the office of the governor, CBN, to supply the detailed information on the alleged resolution between CBN and MTN Nigeria on the charges of improper repatriation of funds.

After several adjournments, on February 19, 2020, HEDA’s motion was moved before Justice Chikiere sitting at Court 3 of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

At the resumed hearing, Justice Chikiere granted the applicant’s motion ex-parte dated the July 2, 2019 seeking HEDA’s leave to file a motion on notice in which respondent will be served with the motion.

The court then adjourned the matter until May 16, 2020 for the hearing of applicant's motion on notice for judicial review.

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