House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications yesterday queried the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, Mr Abubakar Malami over the on-going negotiation in the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC.
The AGF had been accused of playing a leading role in the decision of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun to open a recovery account where MTN paid N50 billion as a prelude to the conclusion of a negotiation deal with the NCC.
At the resume hearing, chairman of the committee, Saheed Fijabi said the decision of the minister to open negotiation with the telecom firm was alien to the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), adding that there was no portion of the Nigerian laws that gives room for negotiation.
Malami, who appeared alongside the MTN CEO, Mr Ferdinand Moolman and his communications counterpart, Mr Adebayo Shittu, said that there was no conclusion of negotiation on the payment of the fine.
He informed the committee that MTN institued a suit against the NCC and later withdrew the suit to give room for the on-going negotiation.
While he absolved himself of any blame in the deal, he cited Section174 of the constitution, which he said gave the office of the Attorney-General the powers to take over such proceedings.
A member of the committee, Hon.EMJ Agboniyanma said MTN violated Sect 19 (1) and (2) of the NCC Act by failing to register about 50 million subscribers on its network on the central data base as provided by the law.
He also insisted that the N1.04 trillion figure handed down as fine to the telecom firm was not the right figure for the fine due to the number of subscribers it failed to register.


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