According a Vanguard report, the Federal Government, yesterday, said it would neither be cowed nor threatened by MTN’s court action against the N1.4trn fine which was later reduced to N780 billion, insisting that the telecommunications company risks another fine if it fails to pay on deadline.
Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, made the statement yesterday in reaction to the suit instituted by the telecom operator at a Lagos High Court, weekend. The minister, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Victor Oluwadamilare, however, admitted that MTN had the right to seek court’s interpretation if it feels unsatisfied with the action of the regulator but made it clear that nothing would stop the government from imposing additional fine on the operator, at the expiration of the deadline.
According to the minister, “it is the right of MTN to approach the court but there was an infraction, which MTN admitted to have committed before it pleaded for leniency that led to the reduction of the fine from N1.4 trillion to N780 billion and the subsequent December 31, 2015 deadline to pay.
“If it has decided to go to court, it is still within the ambit of the law. I will not intervene, since they have gone to court, we will allow the court to decide if it is right for MTN to commit those infractions and breach the laws of the land.”
He, however, said that “it is unwise for MTN to go to court after the Federal Government had magnanimously reduced the fine. It will surely be fined for violating the rule at the expiration of the deadline, should it fail to pay the initial fine.”