Discussion between Nigeria and the country’s top operator MTN regarding a $3.9 billion fine has been suspended until a House of Representatives committee concludes its investigation into the penalty, Bloomberg reported.
Victor Oluwadamilare, spokesman for Nigeria’s ministry of communications, said lawmakers “have set up a committee to investigate the MTN saga and they are still on it,” adding that “until they are through with it, nothing can be done.”
Back in March, MTN proposed to pay $1.5 billion of the fine, which originally stood at $5.2 billion (before being reduced to $3.9 billion) and is related to the company’s failure to cut off unregistered SIM cards from its network in the country, amid terrorism concerns.
It was issued by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in October last year.
Oluwadamilare said the federal government, the NCC and the ministry of communications “can do nothing” about the case until the committee completes its investigation.
According to him, “there’s no point dealing with a particular organisation from different fronts. It would be counter-productive.”
MTN’s executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko, who agreed to a six-month contract in November following the resignation of CEO Sifiso Dabengwa over the massive fine, was due to leave on 9 May but is sticking around as the operator deals with the penalty issue and looks for a new CEO.