Telecoms company, MTN, has gone to court to challenge the Nigerian Communications Commission’s decision to impose a N780 billion fine on the South African firm, two weeks before the deadline for it to pay up.
The NCC sanctioned MTN for refusing to remove over 5.1 million unregistered telephone subscribers from its network.
The regulatory body fined the telecoms operator N1.04 trillion, but later reduced it by 25 per cent after amid pressure and with the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NCC also reviewed the deadline from November 16 to December 31, 2015.
Ahead of that date, the MTN Group on Thursday said in a statement from Johannesburg, South Africa, that it was taking legal action over the matter.
According to the firm, since its previous advice to its shareholders on December 4, 2015 that all factors relating to the sanctions were thoroughly and carefully considered, including a review of the circumstances that led to the fine and subsequent reduction by NCC, there were enough grounds upon which to challenge the fine in court.
Claiming to act on legal advice, MTN queried the manner the fine was imposed, describing it as “not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act”.
“Accordingly MTN has followed due process and has instructed its lawyers to proceed with an action in the Federal High Court in Lagos seeking the appropriate reliefs,” the telecoms firm said in the statement.
The company said in view of the pending legal action, the company said it would continue to dialogue with the NCC and the Nigerian government in an attempt to reach an amicable resolution in the best interests of all parties.
It advised its shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement.