South Africa’s MTN Group said it will challenge the $3.9 billion penalty slammed on its Nigerian operations by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC in court after resolving that the penalty that has wiped 28 percent off the company’s value wasn’t within the powers of the country’s telecommunications regulator to impose.
MTN was penalised for failing to meet a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers.
In a statement issued yesterday by Africa’s biggest phone company, it said that negotiations with the Nigerian authorities will continue as to try and ensure an amicable resolution.
MTN said that it conducted a thorough 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 and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.
“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,” it said.
MTN said it is advised that in the current circumstances in line with the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), the parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined.
“This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria,” it said.
It would be recalled that the initial fine of $5.2 billion was reduced by 25 percent to $3.9 billion earlier this month, with a payment deadline set for December 31.

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