MTN urged to drop legal action in Nigeria: report

Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN has been urged by Nigeria’s communications minister to drop its lawsuit in order to foster a settlement.

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.

“I’m not aware of any out-of-the-court settlement,” Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu told Reuters.

Shittu said President Muhammadu Buhari would have the final decision on the matter, adding that MTN might be advised to withdraw the court case filed against the fine.

“If they withdraw, it creates a better environment, an environment where there is no stress or pressure on either side,” he said.

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

Shares in MTN traded 1.65% lower  to R122.82 in afternoon trade on Tuesday (26 January), having ticked up over the past few sessions on hope of a settlement.

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MTN urged to drop legal action in Nigeria: report