MTN’s N1.04trn is penalty, not fine – AGF clarifies

MTN’s N1.04trn is penalty, not fine – AGF clarifies

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The N1.04 trillion the tele­communications service provider, MTN, was meant to pay for SIM card registra-tion infractions is a penalty not a fine. The Attorney General of the Fed­eration and Minister of Justice, Abu-bakar Malami said yester­day.
The AGF, who was grilled by the Saheed Fijabi-headed com­mittee, while responding to issues of fine raised by a member of a House of Representatives com­mittee, Hon Shehu Shagari, said: “What has been im-posed by NCC was not a fine but a penalty. It’s different from a fine. A fine can only be imposed by a court of law after indictment, so, what has been imposed is not a fine but a penalty.”
He said that certain provisions of the NCC Act especially Sec­tions 86 and 87 categorically vests powers on the executive to review penalties imposed on providers.
The AGF, who reads out the relevant portions said under Sec­tion 88, an aggrieved person may appeal to a court after exhausting all remedies for a review of penal­ties imposed.
According to him, the idea of a negotiation was breached by a court of law, but that presently, no negotia-tion has been con­cluded.
“The court sanctioned that the parties should look at the possi­bility. It was after that the parties can now look at the possibility of negotiation which were not bind­ing on the parties in the first in­stance. I want to reiterate that no negotiation has been concluded”, he said.
Lawmakers, however, insisted that the recovery account into which the N50 billion was paid was illegal, insisting that the AGF erred in asking that the money be paid into a different account other than the Con-solidated Revenue Fund.

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