Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will have the final say on what happens with the US$5,2bn (R73bn) fine imposed on South African-headquartered telecommunications group MTN, multiple media outlets in the West African nation reported on Wednesday.
According to Vanguard, newly appointed communications minister Adebayo Shittu has said that the MTN matter has been referred to Buhari, who will “take the necessary decision at the appropriate time in the best interest of the country”.
Shittu revealed the referral of the matter to Buhari at an Internet conference in Lagos on Tuesday.
The minister is reported to have said that the decision to impose the fine, the biggest ever imposed by a regulator on a telecoms company anywhere in the world, was not born out of hatred but was done “in the interest of the public”.
According to Vanguard, Shittu had stressed that MTN had admitted to erring and had apologised for failing to disconnect as many as 5,1m unregistered Sim cards by an 11 August deadline set down by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
“The issue is now before Mr President. He will take the necessary decision at the appropriate time. And the president would do what is best for the public interest,” the minister is quoted as having said.
“The good thing is that MTN did not contest the fact that they had violated the regulations and guidelines. They never contested it. They admitted they were at fault. They apologised for their role in the saga and they made a commitment that what happened will never happen again. And of course, they made a plea for review of the payment terms,” he reportedly said. — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media