N780b fine: MTN must pay before out-of-court settlement

By Kokumo Goodie Lagos, Nigeria

MTN Nigeria must pay substantial part of the N780billion fine imposed on it by the Federal Government for SIM registration infraction before contemplating out-of-court settlement, ComTech Minister, Adebayo Shittu has insisted.

He said MTN violated existing laws guiding the registration of SIM cards in the country and was consequently punished, adding that the telco accepted responsibility for the crime and wrote a letter of apology and promised to be a responsible corporate citizen.

He recalled that the infractions were committed under the administration of former President Goodlcuk Jonathan but was only exposed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and went ahead to apply the laws since there are consequences for every action.

He recalled that MTN begged for a review of the sanction which was N1.7trillion, adding that the Presidency listened and got the sanction reduced to N780billion.

According to him, MTN still said it could still not pay the fine prompting the government to ask MTN to do a letter stating why it said it could not pay attaching its statement of account to the letter to justify its claim.

He said rather than making efforts to start paying the fine, MTN called him and said it was seeking judicial intervention, a path which he said he had no objection to.

He said MTN is a one of the success stories of the Nigerian entrepreneurship adding that it is a Nigerian company which nobody is interested in its liquidation.

It would be recalled that the telco sought for out-of-court settlement only to go solicit the services of a former US attorney to help it on the matter. 

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