MTN has signalled its intention to challenge the $3.9 billion (around R60bn) fine issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission in court.
According to the Financial Times, the mobile network operator says that there are “valid grounds” for contesting the fine as it believes the NCC overstepped its regulatory powers.
“All factors having a bearing on the matter have been thoroughly and carefully considered, including a review of the circumstances leading to the fine and the subsequent letters received from the NCC,” MTN said in a statement.
“MTN Nigeria, acting on legal advice, has resolved that the manner of the imposition of the fine and the quantum thereof is not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act and therefore there are valid grounds upon which to challenge the fine.”
The move marks the latest development in the ongoing battle MTN has waged to have the NCC fine reduced.
The NCC issued the fine – which was initially set at $5.2 billion – over the telecoms giant’s failure to turn off around 5.2 million unregistered or improperly registered SIM cards.
Since news of the fine broke, MTN’s share price has fallen significantly. Even though the fine payment was delayed and then subsequently reduced, MTN hasn’t recovered – due in part to the fact that the now reduced fine is still more than double the company’s annual earnings.
As it stands the fine is due to be paid by the end of the year – 31st December – and MTN’s stock is now hovering around just a point above junk status.
[Source: Financial Times]