Telecoms giant MTN pays $250 mn in Nigeria fine dispute
South African telecoms giant MTN said Wednesday it had paid $250 million to the Nigerian government in a dispute over a $3.9-billion fine imposed last year for failing to disconnect unregistered users.
The company also said it had agreed to withdraw its legal challenge over the huge fine in the case that was adjourned in the Lagos High Court to enable the two parties to try to negotiate a settlement.
“Pursuant to the ongoing engagement with the Nigerian Authorities, MTN Nigeria has today made a… good faith payment of 50 billion naira ($250 million),” Johannesburg-based MTN said in a statement.
The money was paid “on the basis that this will be applied towards a settlement, where one is eventually, hopefully arrived at,” the statement added.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is the MTN group’s largest market, where it had more than 62.8 million subscribers by the second quarter of 2015.
MTN was slapped with the penalty in October 2015 after it missed a deadline to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards.
The company issued a profit warning last week and said the Nigerian dispute was a factor in falling earnings.