13 March 2016

Nigeria: Report of Fine Settlement False - MTN

Mr Ferdi Moolman, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, has said that reports on the company's final settlement of the N780 billion fine is false. This was contained in a statement signed by Moolman yesterday in Lagos.

Moolman was quoted in the statement as saying that reports of the claim of settlement were premature, as the telecommunications company was still negotiating with the federal government.

"The management of MTN Nigeria is aware of reports on the settlement negotiations. The confidential negotiations are still very much ongoing with the authorities to achieve an amicable resolution of the matter. Accordingly‎, no further comment can be made at this time," the statement quoted Moolman as saying.

The company has been negotiating with the government over a possible reduction of the fine and made a part payment of $251 million (N50 billion). It also set aside $600 million for further payment of the fine.

The Senate Committee on Communications, headed by Sen. Gilbert Nnaji, on Thursday, March 10, revealed how the Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) were sidelined in the process of negotiation.

The senate committee, which held an investigative hearing into the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on MTN was also informed that the company had proposed to pay the sum of N300 billion between now and 2020.

The committee was told that there is plan for out-of-court settlement of the fine between the MTN and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, with respect of the fine which has been reduced to N780 billion.

Vice Chairman of the Communications Committee, Sen. Adeola Olamilekan (Lagos West), during the sitting, displayed a proposal from MTN, which he said was made to the government.

The Solicitor-General of the Federation, Taiwo Abiodun, was reported to have acknowledged the proposal.

In the proposal, the telecommunications company told government it could only pay the sum of N300 billion between now and 2020.

A breakdown of the proposal indicated that MTN, having already paid N50 billion to a recovery account at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), would pay another N100 billion via electronic transfer between Dec. 31, 2016 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The proposal further indicated that another N80 billion would be paid by MTN, "as a demonstration of its commitment to and confidence in the Nigerian economy and subject to necessary regulatory approvals."

It added that MTN Nigeria would make a purchase of N80 billion of Nigerian sovereign debt issued on international market in 2016 to 2017.

The proposal stated that the last tranche of the payment proposal would be N70 billion.

"MTN would pay through providing the FGN with access, subject to excess capacity to the company's fibre network, for the purposes of allowing the government to expand its e-initiatives (e.g visa processing, public service, connecting schools, registration etc.), from the date of the execution of this agreement through Dec. 31, 2020," the statement added.

NAN

Nigeria

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