Federal Government has agreed that the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria will not be payable until negotiations between the parties have been concluded. Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had set a deadline of 16 November for the payment of the fine, which was issued to MTN Nigeria last month, after it failed to meet a deadline to disconnect around 5.1 million unregistered subscribers.
A statement by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Tony Ojobo on the fine imposed on MTN said “MTN, in a letter of November 2, 2015 admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency.
“The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.”
In a press release issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs, the telecom giant reiterated that it is committed to resolving the matter with the NCC as soon as possible and it is continuing discussions with Nigerian authorities.
“Shareholders are referred to the announcements issued by the Company on the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) of the JSE Limited on 26 October 2015, 30 October 2015, 2 November 2015, 3 November 2015 and 9 November 2015, respectively.
“Shareholders were advised in previous SENS announcements that the Company would update shareholders on all material developments on this matter.
“Shareholders are advised that the Executive Chairman of the Company, Mr. Phuthuma Nhleko, has personally met with the Nigerian authorities to continue the ongoing discussions with them regarding the fine of N200,000 for each unregistered subscriber (the fine), the equivalent of US$5.2 billion imposed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
According to the statement, these discussions include matters of non-compliance and remedial measures that may have to be adopted to address this.
It said, although the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, set a deadline for payment of the fine by Monday, 16 November 2015, shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded.
MTN, the letter added, is committed to resolving the matter together with the NCC as soon as possible and will continue to update stakeholders of any material developments regarding the aforementioned fine via SENS.
Accordingly, it advised shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the Company’s securities until a further announcement is made.
In the statement, the NCC said it “acted in Public Interest” when it fined MTN Nigeria $5.2 billion, pointing out that, following the sanctions it placed on MTN Nigeria, members of the public expressed diverse interest as to what actually transpired. The fine, the NCC reiterated, was a result of violation of Section 20(1) of the Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulation of 2011.
Section 20 (1) of Registration of Telephone Subscribers Regulations 2011 states that: “Any licensee who activates or fails to deactivate a subscription medium in violation of any provision of these Regulations is liable to a penalty of N200,000.00 for each unregistered but activated subscription medium.”
Continuing its narrative, the regulatory body for telcos said “The fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN Nigeria by the NCC was done in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges.
“Consequent upon the overwhelming evidence of non-compliance, and obvious disregard to the rule of engagement by MTN, the NCC had no choice but to impose the sanctions.
In a letter of November 2, 2015, MTN had admitted the infraction and pleaded for leniency. The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine. The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.
“The fine that was imposed on MTN was the second within two months after the operators were given a seven-day ultimatum to deactivate all unregistered and improperly registered Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards. While others complied, MTN did not.”
On August 4, 2015, at a meeting of all the representatives of the Mobile Network Operators (MNO), with NCC, major security challenges through preregistered, unregistered and improperly registered SIM cards topped the agenda after which operators were given the ultimatum to deactivate such within seven days.
On August 14, 2015, three days after the ultimatum expired, NCC carried out a network audit, while other operators complied with the directive, to deactivate the improperly registered SIM Cards, MTN showed no sign of compliance at all.


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