By Emeka Aginam
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, yesterday confirmed receipt of N50 billion by the Federal Government towards settlement of the N1.04 trillion fines slammed on MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd by the Commission, and its withdrawal of Suit No FHC/1923/2015 – MTN Vs. NCC & HAGF.
According to Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, the official information to the Commission to that effect, was received from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, yesterday.
“The amount is an unconditional good faith payment, on the basis that this sum would be applied towards eventual settlement agreement for payment of the fine imposed by the Commission, where the ongoing negotiations between the Federal Government and the company reaches a final resolution.
“The Federal Government’s team for the negotiations is being led by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, while MTN team is led former U.S Attorney General, and Head of Covington & Burling LLP, Washington DC, Mr Eric H. Holder, Jr”, Ojobo said.
The receipt of the amount, and withdrawal of the suit, he added was without prejudice to the final decision of government on the terms of payment being proposed by the company.
On the basis of out of court settlement, the Federal Government team, he said is expected to deliberate on the merits and demerits of the terms of payment of the fine imposed on MTN by the Commission for its failure to deactivate invalid SIM Cards as directed by the Commission, thereby contravening the provisions of the regulation on SIM Card Registration.