MTN Nigeria said on Wednesday it has withdrawn the court case it instituted against the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) over the N1. 04 trillion fine slammed on the communication giant for breaching part of ethics guilding telecommunications in the country.
It also disclosed that by the same token it has paid N50 billion to the Federal Government as a gesture of good faith and commitment towards offsetting the fine and an amicable resolution of the problem.
Against the backdrop of the withdrawal of the court case and the N50 billion payment, the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman said: “We are hopeful at this stage. Along with the authorities, it is clear that we are collectively committed to working towards a solution that is of mutual benefit to all parties.
“Our industry in Nigeria is an incredibly important example of the remarkable progress in ICT particularly as a much needed catalyst for socio economic growth and development at this time”
In a statement later, MTN said, “Pursuant to the ongoing engagement with the Nigerian Authorities, MTN Nigeria has today made a good faith payment of 50 billion naira ($250 million).”
The money was paid “on the basis that this will be applied towards a settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at,” the statement added.
“In an effort to achieve an amicable settlement, MTN has agreed to withdraw the matter from the Federal High Court in Lagos.”
MTN said withdrawal of its case against the NCC at the Federal High Court of Lagos is in response to a request by the Nigerian authorities.
The telecommunications giant said the development was in a renewed steps towards a negotiated settlement and to create a conducive atmosphere for further negotiations.
The NCC had imposed a N1.04 trillion fine on MTN Nigeria in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.1 million improperly registered lines within the prescribed deadline. Subsequently the fine was adjusted by 25% to N780 billion, an amount that was considered too high to the survival of the business by the company’s stakeholders.
MTN Nigeria subsequently sought judicial determination afterwards. When the telecoms firm sought an out of court settlement, the Nigerian government insisted that it must withdraw the suit it instituted before a consideration could be given.