Nigeria: Plan To Reduce MTN $8.1Bn Fine To $800m Causes Outcry

The upper chamber of the National Assembly in Nigeria has queried the reasoning behind the suggestion by the Federal Government to decrease the $8.1 billion fine imposed on the communications giant MTN, to $800 million.
The development is currently causing an uproar in the Senate and has been described as an issue that lawmakers should pay attention to.
The Senate maintained that though it has interest in the issue, it is not really interested in what the Federal Government chooses to do with the fine.
In addition, the Senate added that it was uninterested in the details of how the percentage of reduction from $8.1 billion to $800 million was arrived at, but it did, however, want to be engaged on why this reduction became necessary and also what instituted the penalty of $8.1 billion in the first place.
According to sources close to the matter, it seems that the Federal Government with the help of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have concluded the arrangements to cut the $8.1 billion fine to $800 million through the back door.
The Senate of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, disclosed to newscasters that the CBN failed to implement Senate resolutions passed to it before initiating another investigation into the alleged indiscretion by MTN.
Ibrahim, who assured the journalists that his committee would immediately demand a detailed report on the matter from CBN to be better informed, also noted that this would be the only way Nigerians would know the truth about what transpired between the CBN and MTN on the $8.1 billion fine.
The lawmaker added that the last time the Senate heard about the issue was when it had a little retreat recently in Lagos, Nigeria, where CBN delivered the presentation of its biannual activities to the committee (Senate Committee).
Senator Ibrahim said that the CBN had explained that its investigation was based on a petition from a law firm and its understanding was that the penalty was correct.

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