OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives says South Africa’s telecoms firm, MTN must pay the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on it by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
The House kicked against a reduction in the fine and advised the regulator not to allow any official or institution to usurp its roles.
The lawmakers also summoned the Minister of Justice and Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari to appear before it and explain their roles in a negotiated reduction of the fine.
The House Committee on Telecommunications made these known on Wednesday in a meeting with the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbata in Abuja.
It would be recalled that NCC had last year asked MTN to pay the sum of $5.2billion (N1.04 trillion) for its failure to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered subscribers.
But the fine was later reviewed downward to N780 billion while the Ministry of Communications collected the sum of N50billion from MTN without the consent of the NCC.
Chairman of the committee, Mr. Saheed Akinade Fijabi told the NCC boss that there was no where in the law that says “after imposing a fine, you can go ahead and reduce it”.
While wondering what would happen to other service providers earlier fined by NCC if the MTN scenario was allowed to stand, the chairman said “someone somewhere was usurping the role of the NCC.”
According to him, “the N1.04trn should come to the coffers of the federal government. There is no where in the law that says after imposing a fine, you then reduce it. If you reduce this one, what happens to other service providers? They must pay. It is like someone somewhere is usurping NCC’s role.
“NCC should take the lead role in this case and not the ministry. The regulatory agency should not be relegated on this matter. It is unacceptable that NCC will impose a fine on MTN and in turn MTN decides on how it pays.”
Committee members who spoke firmly kicked against the N50 billion paid by MTN, insisting that the telecommunication outfit should pay the initial fine imposed on it.
The committee accordingly invited the Chief of Staff to the President as well as the Minister of Justice to appear before it next week for further clarifications.
In his response, Danbata, assured the committee that the regulator was on top on of the situation.