N1.04trn Fine: Mtn Withdraws Suit Against Ncc, Pays N50bn ‘in Good Faith’
BEVERLY HILLS, February 24, (THEWILL) – South African mobile telecommunication company, MTN has withdrawn its suit against the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, even as it paid N50bn towards an out-of-court settlement of the matter for which it had dragged NCC to court.
The telecom regulator had slammed a fine of N1.04trn on MTN for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards. But following the first round of negotiations, the fine was reduced to N780bn to be paid on or before December 31, 2015.
However, as the deadline drew near, MTN dragged NCC before a Federal High Court in Lagos, hiring about eight Senior Advocates of Nigeria to plead its case. It later requested an out-of-court settlement to which the Nigerian authorities say it must pay part of the fine before talks can commence.
The South African company, on Wednesday, finally withdrew the suit in response to a request by the Nigerian authorities.
Speaking about the withdrawal, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman said, “This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome.”
Moolman noted that MTN paid N50bn to the Nigerian government “as a gesture of good faith and commitment to continued efforts towards an amicable resolution”.
The telecoms company further stated that “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.”