Friday, March 11, 2016

MTN’s N50bn Payment Inadequate, Must Pay All N1.04trn Fine – Reps

Members of the House of Representatives yesterday said the down payment of N50 billion by MTN as a step towards out-of-court settlement of its N1.04 trillion fine was inadequate and must be forced to pay the total amount to the Nigerian government.
This is coming as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta told the lawmakers that the commission was not in custody of the N50 billion payment and was unaware of the account the money was paid into by the MTN.

The Telecommunication giant was said to have paid N50 billion to the federal government after NCC had imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on it over the inability to de-activate unregistered SIM cards as at the expiration of the deadline.

The lawmakers’ position came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed shortly after a closed door meeting with South African president, Jacob Zuma that MTN’s delay to de-activate such defaulting SIM cards has aided the activities of insurgents Boko Haram in Nigeria.
Consequently, during a meeting with NCC over the lingering saga, chairman of the House committee on telecommunication, Rep Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (APC, Oyo) said the company had undermined government’s crusade against insecurity in the country.

He said NCC, as the regulator of the industry, must insist for the full payment, which would then redefine future relationship with the telecom operators for Nigeria’s interest.
“The law is there to serve as deterrent. MTN has been trying to circumvent the process and find a way of running away from the law instead of them facing the music,” he said. The NCC’s executive vice chairman, said on MTN’s fine, NCC had only received a notification of payment from the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) office.

“I do not know the account where the money was paid into. The commission only received a letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation indicating that MTN had paid the amount into the federal government account,’’ he said.
Daily Trust.

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