MTN has engaged seven Nigerian senior advocates to fight the US$3,9bn (R59bn) fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect more than 5m unregistered Sim cards in time for an August deadline, it has been reported.
MTN, which had been given until 31 December 2015 to pay the record-setting fine or face unspecified further sanctions, on Thursday told shareholders that it would fight the fine in a Nigerian court after failing to convince authorities to reduce its size.
According to Africa Review, MTN has acquired the services of Chief Wole Olanipekun as its lead lawyer as it gears up to challenge the NCC fine at the federal high court in Lagos.
In a statement to shareholders last Thursday, MTN said it had decided to take the matter to court after exhausting all other options.
“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 NCC,” MTN said in the statement.
“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 and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.”
Although the NCC agreed earlier this month to reduce the fine from $5,2bn to $3,9bn, MTN has made little further headway in negotiations.
According to Africa Review, MTN will argue in court that the deadline given by the NCC to cut off the unregistered Sim cards was “grossly inadequate” and that the fine imposed of more than $1 000/Sim was “excessive”.
No court date has yet been set. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media