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MTN must pay N1.04 trillion fine, reps insist

MTNThe House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications on Wednesday insisted that MTN must pay the N1. 04 trillion fine imposed by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for SIM deactivation default.

It would be recalled that NCC in October 2015 fined the telecommunication giant N1.04 trillion for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered and incomplete Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards within the stipulated time.

The Chairman of the Committee, Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (APC-Oyo) said the fine if paid will redefine the relationship between the telecommunications operators and the regulator.

He noted that the N50 billion paid by MTN as a part payment for negotiations out of court was not adequate to make up for allegedly undermining government’s efforts to tackle security challenges in the country.

Fijabi said that “the law is there to serve as deterrent for you not to go against them.

“MTN has been trying to circumvent the process and find a way of running away from the law instead of them facing the music,’’ he said.

A member of the Committee, Johnson Agbonayinman (PDP-Edo) said that MTN violated sections 19 and 20 of the Telephone Subscribers Regulations under the Communications Act 2010.

Section 19 of the Act reads: “Any licensee who fails to capture register, deregister or transmit the details of every individual or corporate subscriber to the central data base as specified in the regulation or as may be stipulated from time to time by the Commission is liable to a penalty of N200 000 for each subscription medium.”

Agbonayinman said “Therefore MTN’s failure to deactivate 5.2million SIM cards should be liable to a fine of N2.8 trillion’’.

Meanwhile, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta said that the Commission was committed to ensuring compliance by telecommunication operators to register all SIM cards in the country.

“SIM card registration is a continuous process.

“There is ongoing registration exercise by all operators and NCC will do enforcement checking to ensure compliance,’’ Danbatta said.

Meanwhile, he said that NCC was not in receipt of the N50 billion so far paid by MTN.

“I do not know the account where the money was paid into. The commission only received a letter from the Attorney-General of the Federation indicating that MTN had paid the amount into the federal government account,’’ Danbatta said.

Source: African Examiner

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