The Nigerian telecommunications watchdog, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said late on Thursday that it has not yet received any payments from mobile phone operator MTN towards a $3.9 billion fine. By Staff Writer
Last year, the NCC imposed the fine on MTN for its failure to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers who did not register their SIM cards.
On Wednesday, MTN informed investors that it has agreed a without prejudice a good faith payment of R3.8 billion (50 billion Naira or $250 million) to the Federal Government of Nigeria on the basis that this will be applied towards a final settlement.
On Thursday, the NCC refuted MTN claims.
“We, NCC, are not privy to it (agreement to withdraw a case from court and pay $250 million by MTN). We do not have anything to do with it. We do not have any evidence of payment of any money to the Nigerian government,” Director of Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo, told the Vanguard newspaper.
Ojobo further informed the Vanguard that there is no invoice to that effect.
“We have also not gotten any official information or confirmation that they have withdrawn their case in court. “That information is not from us, NCC. It is MTN that released it from South Africa. We have not got into any discussion on the modalities of payment of the fine.”
On Wednesday, MTN said that in an effort to achieve an amicable settlement, it has agreed to withdraw its challenge to the fine from the Federal High Court in Lagos, where it had sought relief.
The telco advised its shareholders that executive chairman Nhleko was continuing to lead the team engaging the Nigerian authorities.
The Nigerian Federal Court gave both MTN and NCC until March 18, 2016 to reach an amicable out-of-court settlement over the dispute.
“This is a most encouraging development. It demonstrates a willingness and sincerity by both parties to work together towards a positive outcome,” MTN Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Ferdi Moolman, told the Vanguard.
However, the NCC assured that the regulatory body’s management would meet later Thursday to review the report and take a decision that would be communicated to the public through an official statement.