The Nigerian House of Representatives has said that the reduction of MTN’s 1.04-trillion naira fine (R81 billion) was unconstitutional, This Day Live in Nigeria reported.
One lawmaker also argued that MTN should have been fined triple the original amount – which would total R241 billion.
“MTN ought to have been fined under both Section 19 and Section 20 respectively with a cumulative penalty of ₦3.12 trillion, and not ₦1.04 trillion, which is a gross violation of the combined reading of the NCC Act,” said Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma.
MTN Nigeria was handed a fine for failing to disconnect 5.2-million unregistered SIMs on its network by a Nigerian Communications Commission-given (NCC) deadline.
MTN was originally fined ₦200,000 (R15,572) per unregistered SIM active on its network.
The fine was later reduced by 25% to ₦780 billion (R61 billion), but the mobile operator elected to take the matter to Nigeria’s courts.
It later dropped the case and paid a “good faith” sum of ₦50 billion (R3.8 billion at the time) in an effort to achieve an amicable settlement.
Nigerian lawmakers said this payment into the recovery account was in violation of the law, and called on MTN Nigeria’s chief executive officer, Ferdinand Moolman, to appear before the telecommunications committee.
MTN said it has noted the media reports on the fine, and urged shareholders not to make decisions based on them.
“MTN continues to engage with Nigerian authorities in an attempt to ensure an amicable resolution to this matter. To this end, we shall await clarity and further guidance on the fine from the Federal Government of Nigeria,” said MTN.