It appears that Nigeria’s largest telecom company, MTN Nigeria is going through a lot this month.
Last Thursday, MTN Group announced that its Nigerian operation lost 5.1 million subscriber lines in the month of August to the deactivation of incomplete SIM registrations ordered by NCC. This has led to MTN cutting its full-year forecast for subscriber numbers.
To add to this loss, According to BBC, The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has also fined them a fine of N1.04trilion ($5.2BN) for failing to disconnect subscribers with unregistered and incomplete SIM cards within the stipulated time. This is the largest in the history of telecom infringements.
Technology Times which broke the story last night said NCC fined MTN Nigeria “for allegedly undermining efforts by the Nigerian government to tackle security challenges and the war on terror and allied crimes, as the telecoms operator has allegedly refused to deactivate unregistered mobile phone lines on its network”.
The last straw for the Telecom Giant came in today when Premium times uncovered a serious investigation on how MTN smuggles billions to Shell companies abroad to evade tax in Nigeria. According to the article, MTN Nigeria has been making payments to two overseas companies – MTN Dubai and MTN International in Mauritius – both located in tax havens.
Premium Times also explained that:
In 2013, MTN set aside N11.398 Billion from MTN Nigeria to pay to MTN Dubai. A similar transfer of N11.789 Billion was made by MTN Ghana to the same MTN Dubai, making it a total of N23.187 Billion that was shipped to the Dubai offshore account. The disclosure amounted to a confession given that MTN made the dodgy transfers without seeking approval from the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), the body mandated to oversight such transfers.
It is estimated that N90.2 Billion could have been transferred out of Nigeria in management fees alone since the company was founded in 2002.