…Tension In MTN Nigeria As Fear of Sack Grips CEO, Ikpoki and Other Top Management Staffs
The MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa yesterday resigned over a $5.2 billion fine imposed on the company by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for failing to cut off subscribers with unregistered SIM cards.
NCC insists the fine must be paid on or before November 16.
MTN Group in a statement yesterday said its former CEO, Phuthuma Nhleko would take charge for six months after which a new CEO will be appointed.
However, a senior federal official told our reporter in Abuja that: “The MTN Group delegation met with the Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari and he told them they must pay the fine.”
Analysts say the fine and resignation yesterday of the MTN CEO would make multinational companies doing business in Nigeria to sit up.
“This will make them know that it is not business as usual,” said Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr, said telecoms analyst and presenter, Tech Trends on Channels Television.
MTN said it was continuing talks with the authorities in Nigeria over the fine. But an NCC official told Daily Trust that the federal government is only interested in seeing the fine paid.
“The November 16 deadline still stands. No concession, the government is only interested in seeing $5.2bn paid by MTN,” the NCC official who pleaded anonymity said.
Yesterday, MTN’s largest shareholder, South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation (PIC), said it wanted to meet with Nhleko about his plans to tackle the fine and wants more staff at MTN to take responsibility for the penalty.
“A lot more people need to take collective responsibility for the fine… for the alleged failure to comply with regulatory requirements,” the PIC’s chief executive Daniel Matjila said in a statement.
Shares in MTN have slid by nearly 20 percent since October 26 when the charge was first reported, but were up 1.4 percent at 159.65 rand by yesterday, following news of Nhleko’s appointment.
“The board chose Nhleko because of his vast experience in Nigeria and his indepth knowledge of the company,” MTN’s spokesman Chris Maroleng said.
Currently, tension is high at MTN Nigeria with the fear that the crisis may affect some of its top management staffs especially the country’s CEO, Michael Ikpoki as well as some others officials.
Other staff are also under tension because of the implications of the fine of MTN businesses in Nigeria should they go ahead to pay the sanction.