MTN Nigeria on Friday told the Federal High Court in Lagos that it has started an out-of-court settlement on the $3.9billion sanction imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
MTN’s lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), said parties were exploring settlement options.
Olanipekun sought 60 days to allow for further discussions between both parties.
Counsel for the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Oladipo Okpeseyi(SAN), said the telecommunication firm has not been consistent in its move for an amicable resolution.
“This is a matter of national importance. There had been concessions in the past and nothing happened,” he said.
He urged the court to make a consequential order that all the processes filed are deemed as properly filed and served.
The judge granted the prayer.
Justice Mohammed Idris held that the preliminary objections and substantive application would be taken together.
NCC had in October last year sanctioned MTN for allegedly failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers.
The initial fine of $5.2billion was reduced by 25 per cent to $3.9billion, with a December 31 payment deadline.
But MTN challenged NCC’s powers to impose the fine. It argued that NCC being a regulator cannot assume all the functions of the state.
MTN said the commission cannot make the regulation, prescribe the penalty and impose the fine payable to it and not to the Federal Government.
The firm also alleged that it was not afforded its constitutional right to fair hearing before a court of competent jurisdiction.