As it stands now, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has not received any part of the fine imposed on the telecommunication company MTN. According to reports, this is because the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has not remitted the funds.
Out of the total amount imposed on them, the telecommunication giant has paid N80 billion – N50 billion in February and N30 billion in June. This was sent to a recovery account opened by the AGF with the Central Bank of Nigeria, and it’s supposed to be transferred into NCC’s domiciliary account.
In September, NCC sent a request to the AGF, asking that the initial payments be transferred to their account, but the Office is yet to reply.
“We have written a letter to the AGF and Minister of Justice to remit the N80 billion so far paid, out of N330 billion total fine, by MTN into the NCC’s account domiciled at the CBN for onward transmission to Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government.” this was as quoted from the NCC’s executive Vice Chairman, Kumar Garba Danbatta.
BusinessDay reached out to the Office of the AGF for comment, but it seems there’ll be no statement from that area. “I don’t have any information on the MTN fine payment. You should ask the MTN people about the letter to authorize payment they sent to the AGF” – that’s from a staff, if you can believe it.
I am beginning to suspect a foul play but trust me not to jump into conclusion about whatever happened to the money. Maybe the staff above is just not moving with the trend or let’s assume he went on an annual leave when MTN paid the fine.
Recall that, MTN was fined last year for not deactivating unregistered SIMs before the deadline set by the NCC in August, 2015. After some back and forth – which of course included President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma visiting Nigeria – they finally reached an agreement and were asked to pay N330 billion over the course of four years.
If due process was to be followed, the fine is supposed to be transferred into NCC’s domiciliary account before it is then sent to the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government. With this “little delay,” I’m wondering if someone somewhere doesn’t have plans to just “run away” with the money but like I said, I’d not conclude on that yet. We’ll just wait and see.