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MTN’s Group MD resigns over $5.2billion fine mess
Sifiso Debengwa: Man of honour resigns of $5.2million fine

MTN’s Group MD resigns over $5.2billion fine mess


MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, resigned on Monday morning over the N1.04tn fine imposed on MTN Nigeria by the country’s regulatory body – the Nigerian Communications Commission.

His resignation letter reads “Due to the most unfortunate prevailing circumstances occurring at MTN Nigeria, I, in the interest of the company and its shareholders, have tendered my resignation with immediate effect.”

And in swift move, the Board has subsequently appointed ‎Phuthuma Nhleko as Executive Chairman in a temporary capacity.

He said Nhleko, the current Non-executive Chairman, has agreed to act as Executive Chairman for a maximum period of six months while the company identifies a successor for Dabengwa.

Nhleko is no stranger to the business as he served as non-executive director and Chairman of MTN from July 2001 until June 2002 and thereafter as an executive director, Group president and CEO until March 2011. He has subsequently chaired the Group in a non-executive capacity for the past two and a half years (since May 29, 2013).

“I will assume responsibility as Executive Chairman for the next six months as I proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and will continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency,” Nhleko said in his acceptance letter.

Mr. Alan van Biljon would continue to serve as the Lead Independent Director on the MTN board of directors (MTN Board), while Nhleko takes over executive responsibility.

“Together with the MTN Board, my second priority will be to find an appropriate Chief Executive Officer to take MTN forward. I will then revert to my Non-executive Chairman role,”

‎”Stakeholders are reminded that MTN will continue to inform them of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities via the Stock Exchange News Service of the JSE Limited”. Nhleko ststed

Meanwhile, Two lawyers, Oluyinka Oyeniji and Deolu Ogunbanjo, have instituted a legal suit against the regulator as first respondent and MTN Nigeria as second respondent over the SIM registration issue.

The lawyers, both MTN subscribers and incorporated trustees of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), are challenging the NCC at the Federal High Court in Lagos, praying the court to stop NCC from further imposition of any fine on the telecoms firm.

They also want the court to compel NCC to account for all the monies it collected from telecoms operators in the past as fines, and to pay such monies to subscribers as compensation for poor service quality they had suffered in the past. According to the court documents, both lawyers, who are applicants one and two respectively in the court case, are calling for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the first respondent (NCC) from further imposing or exerting any fine in respect of registration of telephone subscribers on the second respondent (MTN).

They called for an order mandating NCC to commission, establish and conduct monthly updates on the central database and to conduct rigorous campaign for applicants and other telephone subscribers to update their particulars with the respondents.

They equally called for an order mandating the respondents to publish newspaper apologies to the applicants and other telephone subscribers for the lack of establishment, maintenance and conducting updates on the central database. In a sworn affidavit, the lawyers mandated NCC to account for all the fines it had imposed on telecoms operators and pay applicants as well as other telephone subscribers as compensation and to continue to pay fines exerted and imposed upon conviction as compensation to applicants and other telephone subscribers.

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