The Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications, Hon. Sajeed Fijabi, on Wednesday insisted that MTN Nigeria should be made to pay the N1.04 trillion fine in full instead of reducing it to N780bn.
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, had in October 2015 slammed an initial fine of N1.04 trillion on the telecom company for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered subscribers on its network but was later reduced to N780 billion and gave the network provider till December 31, 2015 to pay up after the company had pleaded for leniency.
Speaking in a meeting with the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu and officials of NCC, Fijabi said any negotiation should be spearheaded by the NCC and not the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami. He stressed that there should be no room for a reduction of the fine, as it would set a bad precedent.
Fijabi said, “There is nowhere in the law that says there is room for reduction. If you are reducing this now, what will happen to Glo and others? I see MTN going to court every time as a way to circumvent the law. In the US, British Petroleum paid the full fine for the oil spill (in the Gulf of Mexico).
“Somebody is not allowing you to handle this matter the way you should. After you had imposed the fine, somebody is negotiating and reducing it. You imposed the fine, you should take the lead in negotiations, but now you are being sidelined.
“You imposed the N1.04 trillion fine, and we at the National Assembly have already projected that amount as part of federal government’s revenue.”
Fijabi faulted the Attorney General’s role of leading the negotiation on the fine with MTN, stressing that Malami usurped the powers of the NCC.
Hon. Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma (Edo PDP) said while the government is interested in attracting foreign investments, they cannot not be allowed to get away with flouting regulations.