N780b NCC fine: MTN withdraws suit, pays N50billion
By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria
In renewed steps towards a negotiated settlement and to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations, MTN Nigeria has withdrawn its case against the regulator, the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) at the Federal High Court of Lagos in response to a request by the authorities.
MTN Nigeria CEO Ferdi Moolman, speaking on the issue, said: “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome”.
Furthermore 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.
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 business. MTN Nigeria subsequently sought judicial determination as a means of protecting the local ecosystems valued and supported by MTN’s business.
Speaking about the withdrawal of the court case and the N50 Billion payment, The Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria Ferdi Moolman stated that “We are hopeful at this stage. Along with the authorities, it is clear that we are collectively committed to working towards a solution that is of mutual benefit to all parties. Our industry in Nigeria is an incredibly important example of the remarkable progress in ICT particularly as a much needed catalyst for socio economic growth and development at this time.”