MTN Nigeria, the country’s leading operator and the leading MTN operator by subscriber numbers, has taken 18 Nigerian banks to court over the alleged unauthorised transfer of ₦22.3 billion ($53.7 million) from an account owned by its recently-licensed mobile money Payment Service Bank (PSB) MoMo.
As reported by a number of local news outlets, MTN Nigeria is alleging that its partner banks have wrongly transferred billions of naira to thousands of accounts maintained by the 18 banks’ customers. Momo is seeking a court declaration that the deposits belong to MTN’s Momo PSB and not to the customers of the banks, although it appears that the sums have already been removed from the accounts of the customers involved.
Transfers from the Momo settlement account were noticed on 24 May. These reached around 700,000 transactions, with credits made into about 8,000 accounts in the 18 banks. MoMo PSB management then shut down the service and is pursuing the banks for refunds.
While MTN Nigeria does not seem to be alleging fraud, it does suggest that the transfers were an error and that refunds are required. MTN’s Momo PSB is also seeking an order from the court directing the 18 banks to account for the sums that went into their customer accounts and wants the banks to provide information about the beneficiaries of the transfers.
As we reported at the time, April saw the approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria of a licence for MTN's Mobile Money (MoMo) Payment Service Bank in the country.