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NCC: MTN now pays N30b fine to Nigeria

South African telecoms giant, MTN, has paid nearly $100 million of a $1.7 billion fine for failing to disconnect unregistered SIM cards in Nigeria.

MTN has paid N30 billion ($98million, 92 million euros) as part of the fine,” said Tony Ojobo, spokesman for Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC).

The payment is in furtherance of the agreed timetable for payment of the total fine.”

He said MTN had already paid N80 billionn of the total fine of N330 billion.

Mr Tony further said MTN was expected to pay the next tranche of the fine “based on the payment schedule agreed by the two parties.”

An MTN source in Nigeria confirmed the payment.

“Yes, we have made another payment. It’s in fulfillment of our financial obligations to the NCC regarding the fine,” he said, without giving details.

MTN was initially hit with a $5.2 billion fine in October 2015 for failing to cut off 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards as requested by the Nigerian government.

Security was cited as being behind the move, over fears that Boko Haram Islamists were using unregistered SIMs to plan and execute attacks in the remote northeast.

In December 2015, the fine was reduced to $3.4 billion, then was cut further in June last year to $1.7 billion, which at the time was equivalent to 330 billion naira.

The Johannesburg-based firm, which is the largest mobile provider in Nigeria, threatened to pull out of the country during the SIM card row, before the fine was reduced.

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