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MTN Nigeria Ready for Out of Court Settlement, Withdraws Case Against FG over $5.2bn Fine


The stage may have been set for the repair of the cracked wall between MTN Nigeria and Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) following the row the $5.2bn fined the telecom!indication giant by the Commission for breaching ethical code generated.
This is as MTN formally announced the withdrawal of the court case against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
According to a statement issued on Friday, this is in order to pave way for continue settlement discussions with the Federal Government towards an amicable resolution of the matter in the best interests of the Telecom company and Nigeria.
Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari had told visiting South African President Jacob Zuma on March 8, that the institution of legal case against the Federal Government had made amicable settlement a hard nut.
Buhari said: “This is the first time I will personally as a President be making a public comment about it.
“The concern of the Federal Government is basically on the security and not the fine imposed on MTN. You know how the unregistered GSM are being used by terrorists.
“And between 2009 and today, at least 10,000 Nigerians were killed by Boko Haram.
“That was why NCC asked MTN, Glo and the rest of them to register GSM. Unfortunately, MTN was very, very slow and contributed to the casualties,” he added.
Buhari added that unfortunately for the telecommunication firm, rather than negotiating the fine or the mode of payment, it dragged the Federal Government to court.
He said the country’s constitution stipulates that no further action should be taken on any issue that is a subject of litigation.
Buhari said now that MTN had decided to withdraw the case from court, it is free to go back to the relevant government agencies to see if the fine can be reduced and paid in installments.
MTN had on 24th of February 2016, announced its withdrawal of the court case and made an initial payment of N50bn without prejudice.
This payment was made on the basis that it would be applied towards a settlement when one is arrived at.
Speaking Friday, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman said: “We have kept our promise to withdraw and we have followed through by formally doing so.
“This is in line with the premium we place on good corporate citizenship.
“The formal withdrawal today at the Federal High Court, with all parties in attendance, signals further progress in the negotiations between MTN Nigeria and the Nigerian government.”
Speaking further, Moolman described the development as another manifestation of good faith and intent by MTN Nigeria. “We have confidence in the equally good intentions of the Nigerian authorities and the strength of our mutual commitment to an amicable resolution.
“The high priority that Government is giving to the sustainability of the industry assures us of a truly integrated approach amongst all parties, to the growth of ICT as a critical enabler of socio- economic development in Nigeria.”, he said.
NCC fined MTN Nigeria $5.2bn on October 26, 2015 for non-compliance with a deadline set by the NCC to disconnect all non-registered sim cards.
The commission had noted that, “The fine of N1,040 billion is in line with Section 19 of the SIM Registration Regulations specifying N200,000 per unregistered SIM and the penalty has been applied for the 5.2m MTN SIM card registration records found to be non-compliant by the NCC”

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