The Federal Government has said it would neither be cowed nor threatened by MTN’s court action against the N1.4trn fine, which was later reduced to N780 billion, adding that the telecommunications company risks another fine if it fails to pay on the December 31stdeadline.
Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, made the statement yesterday in reaction to the suit instituted by the telecom operator at a Lagos High Court.
The minister, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, while admitting that MTN had the right to seek court’s interpretation if it feels unsatisfied with the action of the regulator, made it clear that nothing would stop the government from imposing additional fine on the operator, at the expiration of the deadline.
He, stated: “it is unwise for MTN to go to court after the Federal Government had magnanimously reduced the fine. It will surely be fined for violating the rule at the expiration of the deadline, should it fail to pay the initial fine.”
Meanwhile, MTN, yesterday, also insisted that its action was induced by commitment and belief in the long term sustainability of its business, saying: “the N780 billion fine has potentially dire consequences for the company, its employees, partners, stakeholders as well as the entire Nigerian telecommunications industry.”
According to Human Resources & Corporate Services Executive, Amina Oyagbola “the decision to seek judicial determination was reached after careful consideration of all factors, including extensive attempts at a sustainable resolution. It is important to state that seeking judicial determination was a last resort. We hold the Nigerian Government, its national objectives, laws and regulations in the highest regard.”
She, however, added that notwithstanding the action, the company would continue to engage with the Nigerian authorities in an effort to reach an amicable resolution in the interest of all stakeholders.
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