Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said yesterday that he did not hold any talk with MTN over the $5.2 billion fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President on Media and Publicity, Mr Laolu Akande, said this in a telephone chat with Daily Trust on Monday.
Details of Osinbajo’s assets declaration released early September showed that he had shares in MTN Nigeria.
MTN had said yesterday that it was in talks with the Nigerian presidency, internal security agency and the communications regulator about the fine imposed on it for failing to disconnect unregistered subscribers and other users with incomplete registration.
But the Vice President spokesman said: “The Office of the Vice President is not in talks with MTN over the issue. If there is any talks at all with MTN, I guess the executive body of the government that is responsible is the NCC”.
A delegation of MTN officials from the company’s headquarters in South Africa, led by the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, is said to be in Nigeria to plead for a lower penalty. NCC gave MTN until November 16 to pay the fine.
An NCC official confirmed that the MTN delegation from South Africa is in the country.
He said, “I can confirm to you that, yes, the MTN big guns are in the country. They have been in touch with us though we are yet to meet officially. We have told you we are not directly in charge of this case again. The office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) has taken over. Coming to us may not bring out anything meaningful for them. Yes, they are putting pressure on us, but we are not going to yield to it…We are not ruling out any diplomatic settlement. We believe the Presidency has the final say.”