$3.9b Fine: MTN Dares Nigeria

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By Gbenga Ogundare

The sanction crises rocking MTN Nigeria may soon escalate as the MTN Group is set to challenge the $3.9bn fine in court after resolving that the sanction that’s wiped 28 percent off the company’s value wasn’t within the powers of the NCC.
Addressing its shareholders Thursday, MTN said that “all factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered including
a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“MTN Nigeria acting on legal advice has resolved that the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof is not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act.’ “There are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine,” MTN said.
“Accordingly MTN has followed due process and has instructed its lawyers to proceed with an action in the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking the appropriate
reliefs.”
The Nigerian Communications Regulator imposed the penalty on MTN for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers as security agencies seek to fight crime in a country with poor identity records.
Chairperson Phuthuma Nhleko is leading negotiations with the NCC after Chief Executive Officer Sifiso Dabengwa resigned.
The initial fine of $5.2bn was reduced by 25% to $3.9bn earlier this month, with a payment deadline set for December 31.
NCC spokesperson Tony Ojobo declined to comment on MTN’s plan to challenge the fine.
With the new development, MTN Nigeria has finally concluded it would not pay the N1.04 trn fine, the NCC slammed on it.

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