Ghana Slaps MTN With $773 Million Fine


Jan. 16, 2023, 10:41 a.m.

We’ve seen hefty fines across the tech world, but very rarely do they fall close to home.

Last week, the Ghana Revenue Authority slammed MTN’s Ghanaian subsidiary with a $773 million fine—and no, it’s not for questionable internet services.

According to Ghana’s tax authority, the fine is for outstanding [or unpaid] tax obligations for 2014–2018. During these years, GRA claims that MTN underreported its revenue in Ghana by about 30%. The $773 million tag also comprises penalties for non-disclosure and interest charges.

MTN will fight it

The MTN Group, however, is not taking the bill lying down.

Announcing the fine, the company said, “MTN Ghana believes that the taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment and has resolved to defend MTN Ghana’s position on the assessment vigorously. MTN Group and MTN Ghana will continue to engage with the relevant authorities on this matter and MTN remains resolute that MTN Ghana is a tax-compliant corporate citizen.”

Since 2022, Ghana has been facing a worsening economic crisis stemming from its inability to finance its external debts worth $55 billion. According to Reuters, most of the government’s revenue is being pushed towards financing these debts which have caused ballooning inflation rates.

As MTN continues to fight the bill, many speculate if the Ghanaian government is making a desperate attempt to finance its debts, especially as GRA awarded MTN Ghana a Platinum Award for tax compliance for one of the years in question.

Zoom out: For MTN, it looks like it may be fighting a back-tax fine everywhere it goes. In 2020, it won a 16-month-long battle against the Nigerian government who levied a $2 billion claim for back taxes against it.

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