Yesterday, we reported that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had reduced the fine it imposed on MTN Nigeria by 35%. This morning, Fin24Tech is reporting that the regulator has changed its mind.

The fine, which initially stood at $5.2billion was reportedly cut down to $3.4billion. However, MTN has released a statement saying that “the fine had actually not been reduced by 35% – as indicated from a first letter from the NCC on December 2 – but actually by 25%.”

Fin24Tech reports that the second letter from the NCC arrived late on December 3, 2015, a day after MTN received the first letter.

In a statement made to shareholders, MTN pointed out that “the second letter, which was stated to supersede the first letter, informed the company that the fine had actually been reduced by 25% to 780 billion naira ($3.9bn) and not by 35% to 674 billion naira ($3.4bn), as was stated in the first letter. The payment date remained 31 December 2015.”

It added that, “Neither the first letter nor the second letter sets out any details on how the reduction was determined” and that Phuthuma Nhleko, the executive chairman of MTN Group, plans to “immediately and urgently re-engage with the Nigerian Authorities” about the change.

So far, the fine has affected the company in significant ways. Its share price in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has dropped by a fifth, both the group CEO and the Nigeria CEO have quit; so also has MTN Nigeria’s head of regulatory and corporate affairs, Akinwale Goodluck.

David Adeleke Author

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