Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) has proposed to pay the federal government N300 billion for the fine slammed on it by the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), a document sent to the Senate revealed yesterday.
The fine was initially N1.4 trillion before it was reduced to N780bn. But the telecom has proposed to pay N300bn.
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A document from the office of the Solicitor General of the Federation read at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Communications attended by the Minister of Communication, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta and representatives of the MTN, said the telecom has proposed to pay the amount.
MTN was fined in October last year by NCC for failure to disconnect unregistered SIM cards as directed by the authorities, thereby contravening the provisions of the regulation on SIM card registration.
Reading the document, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Communications, Senator Solomon Adeola Olamilekan, said the telecom proposed to pay N250bn in addition to the N50bn it paid last month.
At the hearing of the committee, there was controversy over the N50bn already paid being part of the fine. Chairman of the committee, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, queried the payment, saying it violated the law establishing the NCC.
But the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, said the money was paid following a directive by the minister of justice.
“The FG asset recovery account has been credited with N50bn, the narration clearly shows that it was deposited by the MTN and the money is intact. The money was paid into the recovery account because of the pending litigation on the issue,” he said.
The Acting Director of Banking and Payment System Department of the CBN, Mohammed El-Yakub, corroborated the AGF’s statement on the money.
But a member of the committee, Senator Isah Hamma Misau (APC, Bauchi Central) accused the Ministry of Justice, AGF, CBN and MTN of criminal conspiracy against the country.
“There is criminal conspiracy between the Ministry of Justice, AGF, CBN and MTN because the way NCC and the minister of communication were removed from the negotiations is suspicious,” he said.
However, the AGF faulted his claim, saying, “there is no conspiracy against the country. The recovery account we opened was not against the Treasury Single Account (TSA). We take exception on the statement”.
An executive director of the MTN, Mrs. Amina Oyagbola, said MTN paid the money into the recovery account based on the directive by the federal government.
Also speaking, a representative of the Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Akpata, said the money was paid into the account in view of the ongoing litigation.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Communication, Senator Gilbert Nnaji, said the NCC and the Ministry of Communication should be carried along in future negotiations.
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