MTN ignores FG's directive to pay N780bn fine, may lose licence

By The Citizen

The management of MTN says it will not pay the N780bn fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The telecommunications firm stated this on Thursday in a statement released at 8pm, about four hours to the end of the December 31, 2015 deadline issued by the NCC.

In a response to a media inquiry sent by our correspondent, the Public Relations and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Funso Aina, said when a case was in court, there was a limit to the comments that could be made on it.

He said, 'Suffice it to say that based on the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), all parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria.'

Aina said that notwithstanding the lawsuit, 'we would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to try and ensure an amicable resolution in the best interest of the company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities.'

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He added, 'We urge our customers not to panic as we do not envisage any disruption to our operations.'

Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Minister for Communications, Adebayo Shittu, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, has insisted that MTN will have to pay the fine.

'MTN has the right to seek the court's interpretation if it feels unsatisfied with the action of the regulator but nothing would stop the government action on the fine,' Oluwadamilare said.

However, The PUNCH recalls that the minister had last week Wednesday stated that the fine had been put on hold pending the court's determination on the matter.

'We cannot insist on MTN paying the fine because the matter is already in court,' Shittu had told journalists in Lagos. Punch