Friday, December 4, 2015 9:13 am
There is a new twist in the $5.2billion fine imposed on MTN by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
On Thursday, MTN claimed that the NCC has slashed the fine by a third to $3.4 billion.
But today, MTN said it has another letter from NCC granting only a 25 per cent discount, slashing the fine to $3.9 billion.
MTN was handed the $5.2 billion penalty in October for failing to disconnect users with unregistered SIM cards, prompting five weeks of pleas from Africa’s biggest mobile phone company that led to the fine being cut by 35 percent to 3.4 billion on Thursday.
But a day later, MTN issued a statement saying the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had sent it a second letter in which it said the fine had actually been reduced by 25 percent to 780 billion naira ($3.92 billion) and not by 35 percent to 674 billion naira.
“Neither the first letter nor the second letter sets out any details on how the reduction was determined,” MTN said, adding that its chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, would immediately hold talks with Nigerian authorities before responding.
Nigeria has been pushing telecoms firms to verify the identity of subscribers amid worries unregistered SIM cards were being used for criminal activity in a country facing the insurgency of militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
The fine came months after Muhammadu Buhari swept to power in Africa’s biggest economy, after a campaign in which he promised tougher regulation and a fight against corruption.
MTN said the NCC has given it until the end of the year to pay the fine.