Government will not destabilise MTN over N780b fine, says AGF

• Insists on strict compliance with laws and regulations

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has disclosed that the Federal Government will not destabilise the operations of MTN, as a result of the fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

A statement released through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Salihu Othman Isah, disclosed that the minister had yesterday informed the House Committee on Communications and Information Technology during a public hearing on the MTN fine.

The minister stated that government decision was due to MTN’s contributions to the growth of the nation’s economy, especially through employments.

He however, stated that what is imperative is to ensure that corporate bodies operate within the scope of the prevailing regulations, and respect the laws of the land within which they operate.

Malami in his response to questions from members of the Committee explained that the case of MTN does not bother on criminality but non-compliance to laws and regulations.

He said: “It is my constitutional responsibility to ensure that laws of the federation are respected and the interest of the business communities protected.”

He further stressed that penalties are negotiable in accordance with the law and public interest. “But my major concern is to ensure that the laws of the land are respected,” he said.

Also responding to questions from members of the Committee, the Accountant General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed explained that MTN deposited the N50bn penalty into the account opened for the purpose, while assuring that the statement and figure had remained the same.

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