An audit report of into foreign companies' compliance with exchange controls in Nigeria names Standard Bank as a possible violator.
Standard Bank was named alongside Standard Chartered and Citigroup as having failed to properly report on foreign currency flows.
The report recommends that other banks – but not Standard – should be made to “refund and return” billions of dollars according to Finance Uncovered and amaBhungane.
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The report was commissioned by Nigeria's Attorney General.
It alleges that Stanbic (a 53.25%-held subsidiary of Standard Bank), may have failed to declare almost $950-million (R11.32 billion) in capital inflows to Nigeria.
It recommends that Standard's future right to use such declarations to repatriate dividends for MTN shareholders be withdrawn.
The report’s demands for “required enforcement actions” were delivered to the attorney general and the central bank last October but almost five months later there are concerns nothing has been done. A whistleblower, angry at the perceived inaction of Nigeria’s authorities, showed a copy of the report to Finance Uncovered.
Neither MTN nor Standard are new to wrestling with Nigerian authorities. Stanbic was slapped with a $5 million fine back in 2015 for alleged accounting malpractices. Nigeria's telecommunication’s regulator imposed a $5.2 billion fine on Johannesburg-based MTN Group Ltd. for failing to disconnect Nigerian customers' unregistered sim cards.
According to a Business Day report, the spokesman for Standard Bank’s Nigerian subsidiary said it had received no “formal communication” from the Nigerian government about the investigation and therefore could not comment.