MTN Nigeria CEO says ‘still talking to government’ about fine
14 March 2016 | Alan Burkitt-Gray
The CEO of MTN Nigeria has denied that the company has agreed a deal on its fine from the Nigerian government.
Ferdi Moolman, who took over as CEO in December 2015, issued a statement over the weekend saying that “confidential negotiations” were still continuing between MTN and the federal government and that they hoped “to achieve an amicable resolution of the matter”.
The government imposed a fine of $5.2 billion on MTN in 2015 for continuing to provide service to users with unregistered SIM cards. This was later reduced to $3.9 billion and reports suggest that MTN is trying to cut it further to $1.5 billion.
Moolman said in a statement on Saturday: “The management of MTN Nigeria is aware of the 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.”
MTN made a $250 million down payment towards the fine in February and is believed to be offering to pay the rest in instalments as well as by buying Nigerian government bonds and offering network deals to the government,
The company has hired Eric Holder, who was Barak Obama’s attorney general from 2009 to 2015, as its adviser in the case.
The Nigerian government is believed to fear that the unregistered SIM cards were being used by terrorists in the country.