$5.2 billion Fine: MTN, NCC Opt For Out-of-Court Settlement

A Fedemtn-logoral High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned hearing on the suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited against the Nigeria Communications Commissio (NCC) over $5.2 billion, about N1.04 trillion, fine imposed on the telecommunication outfit till March 18.

The court, presided over by Justice Mohammad Idris, said the adjournment was to allow both parties involved to try and settle out of court or hearing in the case would commence.

At the hearing, counsel to NTM, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), asked the court for a 60-days period to allow for discussion as parties were already discussing on how to resolve the matter amicably.

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NCC’s Counsel, Yusuf Alli (SAN), observed that the court’s discretion was limited to the rules of court which allows for just 21 days to file and serve written addresses.

Expressing his reservations over the 60 days request by Olanipekun, Counsel to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Oladipo Okpeseyi (SAN) stated that the telecommunication outfit has not been consistent in its call for an out-of-court settlement in the matter.

He said, “This is a matter of national importance. There have been concessions in the past and nothing happened.”

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However, the trial judge, Justice Idris ruled that all the preliminary objections and substantive application shall be taken together.

He consequently adjourned the matter till March 18, for report of settlement or for hearing in the substantive suit.

Nigeria’s government had in October last year slammed a whopping $5.2 billion, about N1.04 trillion, fine on the company for failing to disconnect unregistered users in accordance with a directive by the industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), to that effect.

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