The 8.1-billion-naira fine that was recently slammed on telecommunication giant, MTN Nigeria may have been the end result of whistleblowing.

And this is coming from the office of Nigeria’s attorney general which said on Tuesday that it was a whistleblower that prompted an investigation into the alleged MTN infractions.

The allegation was that MTN illegally repatriated $8.1 billion and now CBN wants it to bring the money back in addition to paying a fine.

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Ladidi Mohammed, Head of Asset Recovery in Attorney General’s office, told Reuters in a phone interview that an investigation was then carried out by the central bank.

Recall that the CBN imposed the sanction on MTN along with 4 of Nigeria’s commercial banks.

The banks include: Diamond bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic-IBTC and Citibank.

The CBN imposed sanctions totaling 5.87 billion naira on the banks under its regulatory purview and asked them to refund the sum of $8,134,312,397.63 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’.

Put simply, they violated foreign exchange repatriation rules in favour of their customer, MTN.

Announcing the decision in Abuja last week, CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said that the actions of the Bank became necessary following allegations of remittance of foreign exchange with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCIs) issued on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited and subsequent investigations carried out by the apex bank in March 2018.

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