Thursday, 4 February 2016

MTN hires ex-US attorney-general Eric Holder to fight $3.9 fine

Telecom giant MTN, has hired a former United States Attorney-General, Eric Holder, to challenge the $3.9 billion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect unregistered users.

Holder, who led the U.S. Justice Department from 2009 to 2015, was one of President Barack Obama’s longest-serving cabinet members.

A judge in Lagos last month gave MTN until March 18 to reach a settlement on the fine, which equates to more than twice MTN’s annual average capital spending over the past five years.

According to Reuters, MTN spokesman, Chris Maroleng, was not immediately available to comment on the latest development, however, the Financial Times on Wednesday, cited people familiar with the situation, saying that Holder pleaded with Nigerian officials last month on behalf of MTN.

The report said MTN was still not prepared to pay the fine and launched a court challenge in December, saying the NCC had no legal grounds to order the penalty.

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