N1.04trn Fine: MTN Threatens Court Action Against NCC, Says, ‘We Won’t Pay’

N1.04trn Fine: MTN Threatens Court Action Against NCC, Says, ‘We Won’t Pay’
Patrick Aigbokhan
MTN Nigeria has finally indicated its refusal to pay the N1.04 trillion fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, for its failure to disengage about 5.1 million improperly registered subscribers on its network in August and September 2015.
The telecommunications giant also decided it would challenge the NCC in court.
MTN made its resolved known on Thursday while addressing its shareholders, with indications that not even the reduction of the fine to N780 billion last week by the commission, could sway it.
The telecommunications company said, “All factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered including a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
“MTN Nigeria acting on legal advice has resolved that the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof is not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act. Accordingly MTN has followed due process and has instructed its lawyers to proceed with an action in the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking the appropriate reliefs.
“MTN is advised that in the current circumstances in line with the lis pendens rule (pending legal action) the parties are enjoined to restrain from taking further action until the matter is finally determined. This is consistent with previous judicial decisions in Nigeria”.
The company stated that the action notwithstanding, it will continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities to try and ensure an amicable resolution in the best interests of the company, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, last week reduced the N1.04 trillion fine it imposed on MTN Nigeria to N780 billion. However, the commission also mandated the telecom operator to pay the fine on or before December 31, 2015.