As Deadline Expires Today, NCC May Enforce N780bn Fine On MTN

As the December 31 deadline expires today, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) may enforce payment of the N780billion fine imposed on MTN Nigeria, a source close to the commission has said.

NCC is prepared to enforce payment of its $3.9 billion fine against South African telecoms giant MTN, a spokesman for the NCC told an online agency yesterday.

The deadline over the payment of the fine imposed on the MTN expires today.

But the MTN has filed suit in the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking to quash the fine. MTN’s view is that the court case has delayed payment of the fine until there is a ruling.

But that is not the view of the NCC.

“If the MTN doesn’t pay the fine by tomorrow (today), the NCC will enforce the fine in line with relevant provisions of the NCC Act. The fact that they have gone to court doesn’t affect the fact that they have a fine hanging on their neck. These are two separate issues,” the source said.

The spokesman would not say what action the NCC would take, but insisted that the commission could employ its full powers accorded by law.

“You are aware that in sequel to the suit filed by MTN, the NCC has put together a team of prominent lawyers to defend the interest of the government and Nigerians. And of course the lawyers have filed an objection to the MTN suit on diverse grounds,” the spokesman said.

The spokesman said that the NCC had every right to enforce the fine in line with relevant provisions of the law that established it.

The spokesman also denied that the MTN court case gave them the right to delay payment of the fine.

“MTN is just trying to buy time. There is no merit in their argument. They have gone to court but they are still arguing the case in the court of public opinion. You can be sure that the NCC will do the needful,” the spokesman said.

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