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N’assembly: MTN fine ‘already’ part of government revenue

N’assembly: MTN fine ‘already’ part of government revenue
March 10
13:00 2016
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The national assembly has revealed that it projected the N1.04 trillion MTN fine as part of federal government revenue, insisting that MTN must pay in full.

Speaking at the house of representatives telecoms committee meeting with ministry of communications, Sajeed Fijabi, chairman of the committee, said MTN wanted to circumvent the law.

“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,” he queried.

“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.

“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.”

Adebayo Shittu, the minister of communications, who is also to appear before the senate on Thursday, said the MTN fine has been overtaken by the ministry of justice.

“The AGF gave them two conditions, that they pay N50 billion as down payment and withdraw the case from court. But I had no role, so the AGF will be the most appropriate person to speak on this,” Shittu said.

“We should be the ones handling it but it has been taken over by the ministry of justice.”

MTN was fined N1.04 trillion in October 2015 by the Nigerian Communications Committee (NCC). The fine was later reduced to N780 billion following a series of negotiation.

MTN took the NCC to court but withdrew the suit, paying N50 billion to the federation account “in good faith”.

The issue of the fine was raised by Jacob Zuma, South African president, when he visited Nigeria on Tuesday.

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