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Nigerian regulator confirms MTN paid $250m in fine dispute

Nigerian regulator confirms MTN paid $250m in fine dispute


Nigeria’s Communications Commission (NCC) said on Monday it had received $250 million from telecoms giant MTN towards a possible settlement of the $3.9 billion fine imposed on the South African based company for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM users in time.

NCC said in a statement, negotiations to settle were continuing.

A judge in Lagos last month gave both parties until March 18 to reach a settlement, after MTN had asked the court to arbitrate over the dispute, saying the NCC had no legal grounds to order the fine.

MTN, which makes 37 percent of its sales in Nigeria, had last week said it would withdraw its court challenge in an effort to reach an amicable settlement and make a “good faith payment” of $250 million toward a possible settlement.

The original penalty was based on fining the company $1,000 for every unregistered SIM card in use.

Nigeria has been trying to halt the widespread use of unregistered SIM cards amid worries they are being used for criminal activity, including by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

The fine also came months after Muhammadu Buhari was swept to power after an election campaign which pledged tougher regulation and a fight against corruption.