MTN Group Ltd., Africa’s largest mobile-phone company, has withdrawn its legal action against the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, over the $3.9 billion fine.
It will be recalled that, NCC had fined MTN N1.04 trillion for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards and later reduced the amount to N780 billion after the first round of negotiations. However, the communications giant filed a suit as the December 31, 2015 deadline drew near, and later requested an out-of-court settlement.
However, yesterday, the mobile phone company finally announced withdrawal of the case at the Federal High Court in Lagos in response to diplomatic engagements between the Nigerian and South African governments.
In a statement issued yesterday, MTN said it has paid N50 billion ($251 million) towards a possible settlement.
A Lagos court had adjourned MTN’s legal challenge to March 18 to give the parties a chance to settle the matter.
“MTN Nigeria has today made an agreed without prejudice good faith payment of 50 billion Naira ($251.3 million) to the Federal Government of Nigeria on the basis that this will be applied towards a settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at,” the company said.
MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman said in an e-mailed statement, “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together toward a positive outcome.
“In an effort to achieve an amicable settlement, MTN has agreed to withdraw the matter from the Federal High Court in Lagos,” said the company.
It however said that Executive Chairman of MTN Group, Phuthuma Nhleko and his team are still engaging Nigerian authorities with “a view to settling the matter”.
MTN has withdrawn its suit against the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and paid N50 billion towards an amicable resolution of the fine imposed on the telecoms giant. Ferdi Moolman, the CEO of MTN Nigeria said on the withdrawal: “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome.” MTN paid N50bn to the federal government “as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution”, according to the telecoms company. Moolman further said: “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,” he stressed.

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