MTN agrees to pay N330bn fine in 3 years — NCC

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After nearly six months of negotiation and re-negotiation over the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the fine was reduced to N330 billion ($1.67 billion).

This is contained in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Mr Tony Ojobo, the Director Public Affairs of NCC on Friday.

The MTN Group had earlier issued a statement on Friday in Johannesburg that it had agreed to pay a reduced fine.

The statement quoted the MTN Executive Chairman, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko as announcing that the fine would be paid in six installments over three years.

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“The relationship between MTN, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communication Commission has been restored and strengthened,” Nhleko said.

Ojobo was quoted as saying in the statement that the amount includes the “goodwill” payment of N50 billion earlier made by MTN to the government.

He said that the balance of N280 billion would be made in six tranches in the following order according to the terms of agreement.

“MTN will pay N30 billion into NCC’s Treasury Single Account (TSA) with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), 30 days from the date of the agreement dated June 10, 2016.

“Other dates of payments include March 31, 2017, N30 billion December 31, 2018, N55 billion; March 31, 2019, N55 billion and the balance will be in May 31, 2019, N55 billion.

“The agreement and resolutions were signed by Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, NCC Commission Secretary, Mr Felix Adeoye, Chief Executive of MTN, Fredinand Fredi Moolman and MTN’s Company Secretary, Mrs Uto Ukpanah.

The statement said that Mr Tony Ojobo, NCC, Director, Public Affairs; Mr Usman Malah, Chief of Staff to Danbatta, Ms Helen Obi, Assistant Director, Legal, NCC and Ms Amina Oyagbola, the Corporate Executive, MTN also witnessed the signing.

Ojobo said that it was also agreed that MTN shall undertake the following – tender an apology in line with the apology previously tendered in correspondences relating to this matter to the Government of Nigeria and Nigerians within the one month of the execution of this agreement.

He added that MTN should also subscribe to the voluntary observance of the Code of Corporate Governance for the Telecoms Industry and would ensure compulsory compliance when the code was made mandatory for the telecommunications industry.

“And to undertake immediate steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as commercially and legally possible after the date of execution of this Settlement Agreement,’’ the statement quoted him as saying.

It would be recalled that the NCC on Oct. 20, 2015, imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN for infraction of the provisions of the Nigerian Communication Commission – registration of the telephone subscribers, Regulations 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.1million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline.

Ojobo said that in arriving at the agreement, the EVC“ said our decision was taken based on professionalism and global best practices, and in line with the NCC core value “to be fair, firm and forthright.”

The statement further quoted Danbatta as saying that the commission had always carried industry and stakeholders along in taking transparent regulatory actions.

“At no point will the regulator do anything to jeopardise the business health of the entire sector.

“We were careful not to take decisions that were likely to cripple the business interest of the operators we regulate. Besides, the downturn of the global economy is biting hard on everybody and every sector, so we must therefore be sensitive and flexible in our decisions, Danbatta said.”

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