Nigeria’s president to decide on $5.2bn fine

26 November 2015 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

The Nigerian president will personally decide whether MTN will be forced to pay the $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The communications minister, Adebayo Shittu, told a conference in Lagos, the country’s business centre, that President Muhammadu Buhari will take the decision on the fine.

The NCC fined the Nigerian branch of the South African-based company because the company had not removed unregistered SIM cards from the network. 

According to a report in Nigeria’s Daily Post, Shittu told the conference that MTN admitted that it was wrong and had apologised. MTN’s group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa resigned after the fine was imposed. 

“MTN did not contest the fact that they had violated the regulations and guidelines. They never contested it. They admitted they were at fault,” said the minister, according to the newspaper. 

“The violations were to the tune of five million subscribers. There are many countries where subscribers, in the entire country, are not up to half of the five million. In the case of Nigeria, we had more than five million violations,” he said. 

MTN has 60 million customers in Nigeria. “They apologised for their role in the saga and they made a commitment that what happened will never happen again. And of course, they made a plea for review of the payment terms,” the minister said.