President Jacob Zuma and his Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, are set to meet in Johannesburg this week to discuss the US$5,2bn fine imposed by Nigerian authorities on South African telecommunications group MTN’s subsidiary in the West African nation, it was reported on Sunday.
The Sunday Times said the Forum of China-Africa Co-operation, which takes place in South Africa this week, will provide the backdrop for a meeting between the two presidents to discuss the record-setting fine, which is reportedly more than 50 times larger than the next-biggest regulatory fine to be imposed on a telecoms operator anywhere in the world.
The news of the planned meeting comes after Nigerian officials this week said that Buhari would make the final decision on the fine.
MTN Nigeria was fined 1,04 trillion naira — $5,2bn, or R75bn – for allegedly failing to cut off as many as 5,1m unregistered Sim cards under that country’s Sim card registration legislation. Nigeria sees the registration process as a key part of its crackdown on crime and terrorism.
For the past two weeks, interim MTN Group executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko — who has taken the reins following the sudden resignation of CEO Sifiso Dabengwa — has been negotiating with Nigerian authorities in an effort to have the fine reduced and is said to be seeking to have it paid off in tranches.
MTN’s share price closed in Johannesburg on Friday at R143,44/share. In the past 30 days, the counter has lost 22,9% of its value. Over the past year, it is trading down by 31,2%. — © 2015 NewsCentral Media