MTN Nigeria has withdrawn a suit it filed against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the N1.04trillion fine slammed on it last year by the telecoms industry regulator.
The South African telecoms industry also said in a statement yesterday it had agreed to pay N50bn out of the fine (which later reduced to N780bn), but NCC said yesterday it had yet to receive any money from the telco.
In the statement sent out to journalists by its PR and Protocol Manager Funso Aina, MTN said it took the latest step in response to a request by the Nigerian authorities to withdraw the case and pay part of the money as a pre-condition to further negotiation.
“MTN Nigeria has paid N50 billion to the Federal Government as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution”, MTN said.
The statement quoted the MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman, as saying, “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome”.
The NCC had imposed a N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.
Subsequently the fine was adjusted by 25% to N780 Billion, an amount that was considered inimical to the survival of the telco’s business.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Communications Adebayo Shittu said yesterday the government has yet to receive any payment from MTN.
Speaking through his senior special assistant on media, Victor Oludamilare, Shittu said “The government has not changed its position on the fine; the N780bn is still sacrosanct… And we are yet to confirm the purported N50bn payment. The government is studying the whole drama and will respond officially at appropriate time.”
NCC’s Director of Public Affairs Mr Tony Ojobo also told Daily Trust in a phone interview yesterday that the government has yet to receive any payment from MTN Nigeria.
“I have called the relevant departments and they told me we have yet to receive any payment from MTN. Also, we have not got any court paper on the purported case withdrawal. So, we are not aware of their payment and case withdrawal. When we receive them, we shall inform the public”, Ojobo said.