NCC okays out of court settlement with MTN

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has agreed to an out-of-court settlement of the row between it and the telecom giant, MTN over the the N780 billion fine the agency slammed on the MTN.

The executive vice chairman of the NCC, Prof. Garba Dambatta, who signaled the NCC’s readiness for the amicable resolution of the stand-off said the fine was not intended to kill the telecom company.

“They (MTN) are trying to get this settled amicably. We have been informed by our own counsel that the honourable judge has granted the request for a settlement on the matter,” Dambatta told Reuters.

“The intention is not to kill MTN. We would like the industry to continue. We would like it to be vibrant and I think this is a matter that needs to be resolved amicably and we are working towards that.”

The minister of communications Barr. Adebayo Shittu, has however reiterated that the final decision on what happens to MTN lies with President Muhammadu Buhari.

The NCC slammed MTN Nigeria with a fine of N1.04 trillion in October 2015, for its failure to disconnect 5.1million unregistered lines.

After numerous meeting and endless negotiations, the fine was relaxed by 25 percent, reducing its value to N780 billion, before MTN went for court.

MTN had filed a law suit, with ten senior advocates of Nigeria (SAN) to defend its case.

On Tuesday however, MTN informed NCC that it wanted an out-of-court settlement.

A Federal High Court in Lagos presided by Justice Mohammed Idris has given MTN until March 18 to try to reach a settlement over the fine.

Shares in MTN, one of the biggest investors in the west African country, were up 1.7 percent to 124.76 rand.

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