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Friday, April 15

Attorney-General reveals why FG is negotiating with MTN over N1.04trn fine

Attorney-General reveals why FG is negotiating with MTN over N1.04trn fine

Abubakar Malami

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has explained that the Federal Government is negotiating with MTN Nigeria over the N1.04trn fine to show that it has no intention of penalizing the telecom company out of business.

The fine was slammed on MTN Nigeria by the Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, towards the end of last year for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM cards. There have been talks between the Nigerian authorities and the company ever since.

Speaking when he appeared before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Telecommunications chaired by Hon. Saheed Fijabi in Abuja yesterday, Malami pointed out that the offences committed by the MTN did not border on criminality but were mere infractions against industry rules.

Members of the Committee had expressed reservations over his decision to unilaterally enter into such settlement deal with MTN contrary to laid down rules and to the exclusion of the relevant government regulatory agency like NCC.

But Malami responded by saying: “Penalties are meant naturally to be negotiated. It is not intention of Nigeria to kill MTN at all. I am not here to defend MTN but my responsibility must be in public interest and I am not unmindful of the fact that Nigeria is looking for foreign investors but my responsibility must be factored into public interest.”

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