…as NCC threatens fresh action Monday
By Prince Osuagwu
MTN Nigeria has said it did not expect any service disruption on its network as deadline for payment of N1.04 trillion fine, later reduced to N780 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, expired yesterday.
The fine, which according to NCC, was against the inability of MTN to disconnect about 5.1 million subscribers allegedly not properly registered on its network in August and September 2015, was meant to be paid on or before December 31, 2015.
However, the Commission, also yesterday, said it would take fresh decision Monday, after confirming that MTN did not pay the N780 billion fine before the close of work on deadline day, December 31, 2015.
A reliable source at the Commission, said: “I can confirm to you that 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 telecom operator actually went to court to challenge the fine and the Federal Government has also lined up very respectable lawyers, who also counter-sued the company.
“Both cases did not invalidate the fine, which means that MTN should have honoured the payment deadline. But having not done so, we are going to come up with a new decision on the fine by Monday.”
Reacting, MTN Nigeria’s External Relations Manager, Mr. Funso Aina said that “when a case is in court, there is a limit to the comments that could be made, 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.
“Notwithstanding the lawsuit, we 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. We urge our customers not to panic as we do not envisage any disruption to our operations.”