A federal judge in Lagos has set January 30 and 31, 2020 for hearing of a $2 billion tax dispute between South Africa’s MTN Group and the Nigerian government.
The attorney general of the Federation, Abubakar Malami had demanded the telecoms firm pay the tax bill relating to the import of equipment and payments to foreign suppliers from 2007 to 2017, but MTN argued the claim lacked merit, insisting the attorney general exceeded his powers in making the request.
On Tuesday, lawyers for the government submitted their case against MTN, stressing the attorney general has power to levy the charge and requested a court date in late January to continue the proceedings.
The Nigerian government lawyers had in June asked that the case be adjourned until October to give them time to prepare their case in the latest dispute between MTN and the government.
Nigeria is the South African firm’s biggest market, with roughly 58 million users accounting for a third of its core profit.
In December, MTN agreed to make a $53 million payment to resolve a separate dispute with the Central Bank of Nigeria which said the company improperly removed $8.1 billion from the country between 2007 and 2008. MTN also this year was set to pay off another N330 billion ($1 billion) fine imposed for not disconnecting unregistered SIM cards.