MTN given till March to settle fine in Nigeria

The Federal High Court in Lagos, Nigeria has given mobile operator MTN until mid March to reach a settlement relating to a multi-billion dollar fine it uncured late last year in the country.

MTN had earlier this month fended off an attempt by the Nigerian government to freeze its accounts, after the Federal High Court turned down the application.

Nigerian scribe, This Day, reported that the application was aimed at preventing the mobile operator from emptying its accounts in 21 commercial banks in the country.

The Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) fined MTN ₦1.04-trillion (around R71-billion at the time) in October 2015 for not disconnecting unregistered SIMs on its network.

After negotiations with Nigerian authorities, the fine was reduced by 25% to ₦780-billion.

MTN then opted to take the matter to court in Lagos, thereby missing a 31 December deadline imposed by the Nigerian government.

In a statement on Friday, MTN said that the judge adjourned a hearing to 18 March 2016, “in order to enable the parties to try and settle the matter”.

“If the parties are unable to reach a settlement the matter will then proceed on that date,” it said.

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MTN given till March to settle fine in Nigeria