The Federal High Court in Nigeria has adjourned the case MTN Nigeria brought before it regarding a fine imposed by the NCC until 18 March.

A notice sent to shareholders this afternoon revealed that the judge adjourned the case so that MTN Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) could try and settle the matter out of court.

“If the parties are unable to reach a settlement the matter will then proceed on that date”, said MTN.

The network operator approached Nigerian courts after being advised that the fine imposed on it for failing to disconnect 5 million improperly registered and unregistered SIM cards by the NCC was, “not in accordance with the NCC’s powers under the Nigerian Communications Act”.

Since the fine was issued by the NCC in October 2015, MTN share prices have fallen dramatically, Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa has stepped down and trading of MTN shares on the JSE was halted.

There was brief respite in December when the fine was reduced though it was increased a day later because of a typo in the original reduction.

The fine currently sits at $3.9 billion (R65 billion) which is four times more than the $955 million (R15.8 billion) in final quarter profit MTN Nigeria is expected to show.

[Source – MTN] [Image CC by 2.0 – Brian Turner]