N780bn: I’ll Meet Lawmakers Today Over N50bn Payment – Shittu

The minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu yesterday said he will meet with the Senate Committee on Communications today as well as face the House of Reps counterparts on Thursday to explain his role in the N50 billion payment paid by MTN and the withdrawal of court case against the government.
Shittu who fielded question to technology journalists in Lagos yesterday during a working visit to three telecommunications operating companies, MainOne, MTN and Globacom said the request of the lawmakers was in order. The legislature is empowered by law to check, from time to time, the activities of the executive arm of government with a view to ensuring transparency in the system, he said.
“The latest about the MTN fine matter now is that, MTN, which took the government to court for imposing N1.04 trillion on it for violation of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) registration rule has come out to say it wanted an out of court settlement.
In a democratic system, out-of-court arrangement should be encouraged for peaceful resolution of any matter and we have accepted their offer to settle out of court. “We have also given them conditions to withdraw the case and make some commitment payment in good faith for us to begin further negotiations and they have down the two.
“But the lawmakers are saying they wanted clarifications on the two matters for which I am ready to address first before House of Representation tomorrow (today) and later in the Senate. I am, indeed, more than prepared to discuss how the whole exercise is going with the lawmakers,” he said.
The Senate had summoned the Shittu, alongside the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to explain their role in the claim that MTN Nigeria Limited had paid N50 billion to the Federal Government.
The summon, which was contained in a statement dated March 3, was signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Communications, Gilbert Nnaji. Also to appear before the Committee on the same issue are the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria.
The committee in the statement titled: “Urgent legislative intervention on the alleged controversial payment of N50 billion by Telecom service provider, MTN, with regard to the fine of N780 billion imposed on it by NCC,” has mandated all those included in the summon to appear before it on March 10, 2016.
The committee noted that in the course of its oversight function in relation to the sanction of N780 billion imposed on MTN, NCC could not offer any proof of receiving money from MTN.



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