MTN confirms $5.2bn fine in Nigeria

MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - Africa’s biggest mobile network MTN [JSE:MTN] confirmed on Monday afternoon that it’s been fined $5.2bn in Nigeria for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers.

On Monday morning a report in Nigeria's Leadership newspaper on the fine sparked a sell-off of MTN shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The report detailed how MTN is facing a one trillion naira fine from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the alleged transgression, making it one of the biggest penalties ever for a telecommunications operator in West Africa.

And, subsequently, MTN in a market update confirmed the report.

“Shareholders are advised that the NCC has imposed a fine equivalent to US$5.2 billion on MTN Nigeria,” said MTN in a statement to shareholders.

“This fine relates to the timing of the disconnection of 5.1 million MTN Nigeria subscribers who were disconnected in August and September 2015 and is based on a fine of N200 000 for each unregistered subscriber,” said the company.

MTN further said it is in discussions with the NCC in a bid to resolve the matter.

Meanwhile, MTN’s share price fell sharply by over 8% in trade on Monday in Johannesburg to R171 at 14:40.

Nigeria is MTN’s biggest market with over 60 million subscribers, according to the company’s latest quarterly update.

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