The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday said it will not bow to any pressure from the MTN Group to have the $5.2billion fine waived.
The regulator had slammed MTN with a N980 billion ($5.2billion) fine on October 20 for failing to disconnect some 5.1 million unregistered subscribers on its network.
News of the record fine only came to light last Monday as reported here.
We’d also reported that the fine is the largest in the history of telecoms infringements in Nigeria and may re-define the existing relationships between operators and the regulator.
A senior NCC official, who spoke with Daily Trust on the fine issue on Sunday, said the commission was under intense pressure from the telecommunications giant but “we will not waive the fine”.
Though the official confirmed that the delegation from MTN South Africa (the parent company of MTN Nigeria) is in the country, but said “we are yet to meet officially”.
The source said: “I can confirm to you that yes the MTN big guns are in the country. They are in touch with us though we are yet to meet officially. We have told you we are not directly in charge of this case again. Coming to us may not bring out anything meaningful for them. Yes, they are putting pressure on us, but we are not going to yield to it…We are not ruling out any diplomatic settlement; we believe the Presidency has the final say”.
MTN’s shares took a hit as it dropped by more than 20 % in the past one week following the news of the fine.
On Monday, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange stopped trading on MTN stock apparently due to the company’s dwindling fortune.
The NCC had given MTN up to November 16 to pay the fine or risk more severe sanctions, which may include suspension of license.