N780bn: Government will not frustrate MTN over fine, says AGF

Minister of Justice  Abubakar Malami

Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami

Insists On Strict Compliance With Laws, Regulations
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has revealed that it is not the intention of the Federal Government to frustrate MTN as a result of the fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in light of its contributions to the growth of the nation’s economy, especially through employment.

He however insists 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. In a statement made available to the media, Special Adviser to the HAGF/MOJ on Media and Publicity, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah revealed that the minister informed the House Committee on Communications and Information Technology at the National Assembly yesterday during a public hearing on the MTN fine.

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. “It is my constitutional responsibility to ensure that laws of the federation are respected and the interest of the business communities protected”, he further hinted, stressing that penalties are negotiable in accordance with the law and public interest.

According to him, “I’m not unmindful that Nigeria is looking for foreign investors, neither am I unmindful of the fact that many Nigerians are on the employment of MTN. But my major concern is to ensure that the laws of the land are respected”. Also responding to questions from members of the Committee, the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Idris Ahmed said he opened the FG Asset Recovery Account based on the instructions. He explained that MTN deposited the N50bn penalty into the said account while assuring that the statement and figure had remained the same and intact.

The Accountant General of the Federation further affirmed that all recovered looted funds and the MTN fine are domiciled in the FG Asset Recovery Account pending conclusions which would eventually be moved into consolidated accounts. In his closing remarks, the Chairman, House of Representative Committee on Communications, Honorable Saheed Fijabi said the public hearing was reconvened as a follow up to the meeting held on Tuesday to shed more light on grey areas. According to him, “We are in the change era and that business is not as usual. That’s why we are here to throw more light on this case.”



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