The $3.4 billion fine issued against MTN increased by $500 million, bringing the total fine to $3.9 billion, due to an alleged typo made by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The disclosure of the mistake and subsequent increase broke on Friday morning.
The news sent MTN’s stock plummeting by 3 percent, by the closure of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) the stock’s price reached its lowest in 3 and a half years, according to Bloomberg Business News.
According to Tony Ojobo, the chairman of the NCC, the error was made in a letter sent directly to MTN.
“There was a typo. The reduction should have been 25 percent. We saw the mistake and had to fix it.” In the original reduction, the percentage quoted by the NCC was 35 percent.
Speaking to Bloomberg News John Ashburne, an African economist at Capital Economics in London, described the recent news as “shambolic”.
“The size of the original fine was surprising. It’s even worse that they’re coming up with numbers on the fly, inaccurately,” The economist noted.
Reportedly MTN was not prepared to pay the original reduction, much less the corrected amount.
“The size of the original fine was surprising. It’s even worse that they’re [NCC] coming up with numbers on the fly, inaccurately,” MTN officials announced.
According to Premium Times the error was not the fault of the NCC, but rather President Muhammadu Buhari. In a recent report, Premium Times quotes an “insider within the Presidency” who claimed that President Buhari assumed a supervisory role of the NCC because there is currently no minister.
Speaking to SaharaReporters Femi Adesina, President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, stated that the President had “nothing to do” with the alleged typo.
Nigeria is MTN’s largest market with roughly 63 million customers.