The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, has disclosed that MTN can make a substantial payment out of the N1.04 trillion it was fined by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as a condition for a peaceful out of court settlement with the federal government.
The Minister disclosed this while speaking with technology journalists in Lagos, on Tuesday. His words: As a “show of good faith,” MTN needs to show that it is committed to a peaceful settlement by making a substantial payment or else the matter will revert back to the court.
“MTN was in violation of laid-down rules, but the previous government didn’t do anything about it,” Shittu said, tracing the background of the alleged 28 previous infractions committed by MTN.
“When MTN came, we understood their pleas. However, we added that if they cannot meet up with the fine, they have to add their account details to show that upon paying, their company will collapse. I told them to attach their statement of bank accounts and write a second letter addressed to the president, saying that if they pay the fine their company will collapse.
“They are yet to respond to that and the next I got was a call that they are going to court. Yet now, they are coming back for out of court settlement. We do not want MTN to die; 99 per cent of their staff are Nigerians. But when you default in the law you have to bear the consequences; we want them to obey the law,” the minister said.
It will be recalled that the NCC fined MTN for not complying with its directives and that of the security agencies on the deactivation of unregistered SIM cards while other operators like Globacom, Etisalat, and Airtel complied. When the NCC reviewed the registration records of all the telecom operators and took into consideration their compliance records, it imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN for noncompliance on SIM registration.
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