House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunication has summoned the Minister of Communications,
Adebayo Shittu; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Garba Danbatta to appear before it on Monday to explain why the N1.04 trillion fined MTN was reduced to N330 billion.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that the committee had last week rejected the recent offer by MTN to pay N330 billion out of the N1.04 trillion it was initially fined by the NCC for violating SIM card registration.
In a press briefing, chairman of the committee, Hon. Saheed Fijabi described the action as laughable; adding that even when the committee investigating the alleged offence had not concluded its investigation, MTN in collusion with some powerful forces, had come up with an offer.
Fijabi said following such ugly development, the committee had invited the Minister of Communications and NCC boss to appear before them today (yesterday).
At the resumed hearing of the case on Monday, the two top government officials were not in attendance.
While the Minister of Communications was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Sunny Echonu, the NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Mr. Tony Ojobo stood in for the executive vice chairman.
On why the fine was reduced from N1.04trn to N330bn, Echonu explained that after series of meetings and negotiations, federal government finally agreed that MTN should pay N330bn so as to end the impasse.
He told the committee that he came with all the relevant documentations that eventually led to the approval.
On his part, Ojobo assured that all the relevant documentations would be made available to members of the committee.
The deputy committee chairman, Chukwuemeka Ujam argued that they should have been informed before striking the deal.
Ujam said they agreed that nothing should be done by both parties until they had submitted its report.
Another committee member, Hon Nicholas Ossai said they need to find out from the minister and the executive vice chairman of NCC how they arrived at the settlement.
He threatened that the committee might be forced to give zero allocation to NCC in the 2017 budget for disregarding it.
Ossai, therefore, moved a motion that the Minister of Communications, AGF and NCC boss should appear before the committee on Monday by 11am.
His motion was unanimously supported before the chairman adjourned the session.
Nigeriam Pilot recalls that the mobile telecommunication giant, MTN was last year fined N1.04 trillion by the NCC for violation of sim card registration.

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