FG demands telecoms giant MTN pay fine as deadline expires


31 Dec 2015

FG demands telecoms giant MTN pay fine as deadline expires

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The Federal Government  said it was anticipating that telecoms monster MTN should meet a due date for paying a record $3.9 billion fine which lapses Thursday, in spite of the South African administrator testing the punishment in court.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country's telecoms controller, had in October fined the firm for missing a due date to separate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, refering to security worries in a country tormented by successive kidnappings and a fanatic Islamist rebellion Boko Haram.

It forced an astounding $5.2 billion fine, later decreased to $3.9 billion (3.6 billion euros) taking after a request by MTN.

"If MTN neglects to meet the due date today (Thursday), the administrative body will enforce the fine," Nigerian interchanges service representative Victor Oluwadamilare told AFP.

Oluwadamilare said the pending legitimate proceedings had nothing to do with the installment due date, saying "the court case is not commensurate to broadening the deadline."

Johannesburg-based MTN declined to offer a detailed reaction on Thursday, however said not long ago it would launch a legitimate test in the Federal High Court in Lagos against the fine, and expected all gatherings "to control from making further move" until the case was concluded.

MTN separated the a great many unregistered endorsers in Nigeria toward the end of August, it reported in its quarterly performance overhaul in October, including that 3.4 million of those supporters had following been reconnected.

Nigeria's four noteworthy telephone companies have routinely been fined in the past for administrative infractions yet none has gotten as large a discipline as MTN.

The beginning fine of $5.2 billion was more than MTN's aggregate deals in Nigeria in 2014 and what might as well be called around 37 percent of the group's aggregate income, as indicated by Bloomberg News.

"The fine is really bizarre, it's by a long shot greater than anything we've seen all inclusive and anything we've found in Nigeria," Amy Cameron, telecoms expert at BMI Research, a statistical surveying firm, told AFP.

"Normally when it goes to intervention like this, it would bode well that the NCC can't force the fine until there's a choice from the court," Cameron said, talking from London.

"I would expect that it's profoundly improbable that MTN would pay anything."

Nigeria, Africa's most crowded country of 170 million people, is MTN group's biggest business sector with 62.8 million subscribers.

It works in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

"MTN is focused on Nigeria and it will stay there. Nigeria is its most profitable business sector and it has no goal of leaving," said Cameron.

News Source: TheGuardianNigeria, 9jaTales

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