MTN gets time extension to pay N1, 04trillion fine
MTN Nigeria got a reprieve yesterday when Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) extended the November 16, 2015 deadline for payment of $5.2 billion (N1.04 trillion) fine slammed on it for contravening regulatory orders to deactivate about 5.1 million subscribers with defective Subscribers Identification Modules (SIM) cards on its network.
MTN claimed that talks were ongoing between its management and the commission.
A statement from MTN advised its shareholders that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded. “These discussions include matters of non-compliance and the remedial measures that may have to be adopted to address this,” it added.
In its reaction yesterday, the NCC maintained that the $5.2 billion fine will not be slashed, despite the deadline extension granted MTN.
In a statement by the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Tony Ojobo, the commission stated: “The fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeria by the NCC was imposed in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges.
“Consequent upon the overwhelming evidence of non-compliance, and obvious disregard for the rule of engagement by MTN, the NCC had no choice but to impose the sanctions.
“MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency. The commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. The fine remains, but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.”
NCC disclosed that the fine that was imposed on MTN was the second within two months.