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Corporate Punishment MTN Nigeria refuses to pay $3.9bil fine

The Public Relations and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Funso Aina, said when a case was in court, there was a limit to the comments that could be made on it.

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Telecom giant MTN Nigeria has refused to pay a fine of $3.9 billion imposed on it by Nigeria's Communications Commission (NCC), the country's telecoms regulator.

The NCC had in October fined the firm for missing a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, citing security concerns.

It imposed a staggering $5.2 billion fine, roughly a quarter of the country’s federal budget, later reduced to $3.9 billion following an appeal by MTN.

However, responding to a media inquiry by Nigeria's Punch Newspaper, the Public Relations and Protocol Manager at MTN Nigeria, Mr. Funso Aina, said when a case was in court, there was a limit to the comments that could be made on it.

He said, “Suffice it to say that based on the lis pendens rule (pending legal action), all parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria.”

Aina said that notwithstanding the lawsuit, “we would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to try and ensure an amicable resolution in the best interest of the company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities.”

He added, “We urge our customers not to panic as we do not envisage any disruption to our operations.”

The NCC is expected to take fresh decision on the telecom giant Monday 4 January, Nigerian CommunicationsWeek said, quoting unnamed source.

“MTN did not pay the fine before close of work today (yesterday) and so the Commission will take a fresh decision on the issue Monday.”

The Nigerian communications ministry spokesman Victor Oluwadamilare told AFP Thursday they expect MTN to meet the deadline, adding that the pending legal proceedings had nothing to do with the payment deadline.

He said, "the court case is not tantamount to extending the deadline."

"If MTN fails to meet the deadline today (Thursday), the regulatory body will enforce the fine."

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