By Adedeji Adeyemi Fakorede
MTN Nigeria has been given a two months extension window to settle with the Nigerian authorities over its $3.9 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in 2015.
This followed the adjournment of the case to 18 March 2016 by a Federal High Court in Lagos‚ on Friday over the $3.9 billion that MTN Nigeria has been fined by that country’s regulator.
A statement by the telecom giant, said that the two months extension was to enable the parties to try and settle the matter out of court.
“If the parties are unable to reach a settlement the matter will then proceed on that date‚” the company said.
It therefore advised the company shareholders to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made.
MTN had gone to court to challenge the fine in court‚ as it argued that the size of the fine and the way it was imposed were not in accordance with the commission’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act.
According to the company, the penalty is substantially larger than it’s annual profits.
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Ferdi Moolman explained that the fine could bankrupt the company as it represented 95 per cent of its annual turnover.
The fine, which was reduced from an earlier $5.2 billion, was levied on MTN for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers, as security agencies seek to fight crime and Islamist militants.
“If the parties are unable to reach a settlement the matter will then proceed on that date,” MTN said.