N1.04tn fine: MTN withdraws suit against NCC, AGF

Telecommunications Company, MTN Nigeria, on Friday withdrew the suit it filed to challenge the N1.04tn fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The NCC had fined MTN N1.04tn for failure to deactivate its unregistered subscribers.

But MTN headed for court to challenge the decision, saying it was not given fair hearing.

Besides, it contended that NCC could not rely on Section 70 of its establishment Act to sanction it.

However, on January 22,  counsel for MTN, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), told Justice Mohammed Idris  that parties were making moves to settle the matter out of court.

Olanipekun urged the judge to give them 60 days to explore out-of-court settlement.

But the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who was sued as the 2nd defendant, told the court, through his lawyer, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), that parties had been finding it difficult to settle out of court.

Okpeseyi had urged the court to take it that all the court papers in the matter had been properly filed and served and that the case was still ongoing.

The judge, while adjourning, had said the parties would either return to give the report of settlement or for hearing to commence.

At the resumed proceedings on Friday, Olanipekun told the judge that his client was finally withdrawing the suit, the parties having settled.

Neither Okpeseyi nor the counsel for NCC, Mr. Yusuf Ali (SAN), opposed the application.

Justice Idris consequently struck out the suit.

The judge had on January 12, 2016 turned down an application of mareva injunction by the AGF seeking to bar MTN from emptying its accounts in 21 commercial banks in Nigeria, in order not to boycott the N1.04tn fine.

The AGF had expressed the fear that MTN could move all its funds out of the country before the N1.04tn fine could be enforced.

He had sought an order directing all the 21 banks to open a special interest-yielding account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court and move N1.04tn into it from MTN’s accounts.

But in refusing the application, Justice Idris said the AGF did not place enough material facts before the court to prove that MTN was making any moves to repatriate all its funds out of Nigeria.

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