12 June 2016 – MTN, Africa’s largest mobile operator, has agreed to pay a $1.6 billion fine to Nigeria’s government. MTN was fined by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to disconnect 5.2 million subscribers (at $1,000 each) as part of a crackdown last year against unregistered SIM cards, which the Nigerian government said were being used by terrorist organisation Boko Haram.
The fine will be paid over three years and shares in the Johannesburg-listed mobile operator surged 21% after the settlement was announced on Friday. With 170 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s largest country by population and MTN’s largest market.
“MTN is pleased to inform shareholders that the matter has been resolved with the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the company said in a statement. “MTN Nigeria has agreed to pay a total cash amount of Naira 330 billion over three years (the equivalent of $1.671-billion at the official exchange rate and $902-million at the Lagos Parallel Market Rate) to the [government] in full and final settlement of the matter.”