Hefty Fine On MTN Remains – NCC

Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has said a $5.2 billion fine imposed on South Africa’s MTN remains valid until talks with the company are concluded.
Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator was handed the penalty for failing to deactivate 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards in breach of a NigeriaCommunications Commission (NCC) order.
MTN said on Monday — the initial deadline for payment — that it had won a respite on the payment until the outcome of talks.
The NCC confirmed the deadline extension and that MTN had admitted the breach in a letter and “pleaded for leniency”.
“The Commission has acknowledged this and is looking into their plea without any prejudice to the fine,” it added.
“The fine remains but the appeal and other engagements with MTN may affect the payment deadline.”
The fine on MTN Nigeria was imposed “in the interest of the public which has been at the receiving end of security challenges”, the NCC added.
“National interest is paramount because when lives are lost they cannot be replaced,” the regulator said in its first formal statement on the issue.
At least 17,000 people have been killed since 2009 and 2.6 million forced from them homes in Boko Haram violence that has increasingly hit Nigeria‘s neighbours Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
The NCC said registration of subscribers was made mandatory to ensure proper identification of users with their biometric data and in line with international best practice.
All operators in Nigeria were involved in drawing up the regulations in 2011, it added.
The heavy fine sent MTN‘s share price plummeting on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and prompted the resignation of chief executive Sifiso Dabengwa.

Dabengwa’s role has been taken by acting executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko for six months. He is involved in the negotiations with the NCC.


Credit : Vanguard

NCC Extends Deadline For MTN Fine Payment

MTN Group on Monday said the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had extended the deadline for the payment of the N1.04 trillion (5.2 billion dollars) fine imposed on it, pending the conclusion of negotiations.


In a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, the Group said that the Chairman of the Company, Mr Phuthuma Nhleko, had personally met with NCC to continue the ongoing discussions regarding the fine.


It said that the discussions included matters of non-compliance and the remedial measures that might have to be adopted to address it.


“Shareholders are referred to the announcements issued by the company on the Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) of the JSE Ltd on Oct. 26, 2015, Oct. 30, 2015, Nov. 2, 2015, Nov. 3, 2015 and Nov. 9, 2015, respectively.


“Shareholders were advised in the SENS announcements that the company would update them on all material developments on this matter.


“The NCC set a deadline for payment of the fine by Monday, Nov. 16, 2015.


“Shareholders are advised that the Nigerian authorities have, without prejudice, agreed that the imposed fine will not be payable until the negotiations have been concluded,’’ the MTN Group is quoted as saying.


The company said it was determined to resolve the matter with the NCC as soon as possible and would continue to update stakeholders of any material developments regarding the afore-mentioned fine via SENS.


The Group advised shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities, until otherwise announced.


Efforts to get the Director, Public Affairs of NCC, Mr Tony Ojobo to confirm the extension of payment of the fine proved abortive, as he was said to be attending a meeting.



New MTN CEO Arrives Nigeria Ahead Of $5.2bn Fine Deadline

MTN’s executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko was in Nigeria as the deadline to pay a $5.2 billion fine for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards approaches.


This is according to a Reuters report, which cited a source with knowledge of the matter.


Nhleko, who became executive chairman earlier this week after CEO Sifiso Dabengwa quit over the fine, said that he would proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and will continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency.


MTN is being fined for failing to cut off around 5 million subscribers for which it did not have details as Nigeria is trying to cut down on crimes committed via cellphones.


The fine, which is due on Monday, has weighed heavily on MTN’s shares and has seen them lose about a quarter of their value since the it was announced towards the end of October.


Some analysts have described the fine as “crazy” and noted it amounts to 2.5 years’ worth of MTN profits.


MTN Wants $5.2bn Fine Slashed By 80%

MTN Group Ltd in South Africa is making some moves to get the $5.2 billion fine imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reduced by as much as 80 per cent and it is considering borrowing money from banks to help settle the penalty, should its request for fine reduction sail through.

Bloomberg reported that the head of research of Renaissance Capital (RenCap) in Nigeria, Mr. Adesoji Solanke, shared a note with clients on Wednesday, where he said: “MTN is pushing to reduce the fine by 60 per cent to 80 per cent.”

According to Bloomberg, a second lender said: “MTN is considering borrowing from banks, as it recently checked what the banks’ lending capacity to it is.”

It however quoted MTN’s Group spokesman, Chris Maroleng, as saying: “We don’t comment on banking matters, and banking regulators in Nigeria are best placed to provide context on these matters.”

It also quoted the Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Mr. Tony Ojobo, as saying: “I don’t have that information.”

MTN has until November 16, 2015, to pay the penalty, which relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers and is based on a charge of N200,000 for each unregistered customer.

Credit: ThisDay