MTN to pay $1.7 bn Nigeria telecoms fine
14:13 EST, 10 June 2016
14:14 EST, 10 June 2016
South African telecoms giant MTN said Friday it would pay a $1.7 billion fine to the Nigerian government in a "full and final settlement" over its failure to disconnect unregistered mobile phone users.
The Johannesburg-based company said in a statement that "MTN Nigeria has agreed to pay a total cash amount of naira 330 billion over three years."
Africa's biggest mobile-phone operator was fined $3.9 billion last year and has since been in negotiations with the Nigerian government to reduce the size of the penalty.
South Africa's MTN was hit with the huge fine amid fears that some of the 5.1 million affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents ©Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP/File)
The company was hit with the huge fine amid fears that some of the 5.1 million affected lines were being used by Boko Haram insurgents.
Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the west African country's telecoms regulator, confirmed that following six months of talks, the MTN fine had been reduced.
It said in a statement that its decision to reduce the fine was based on "professionalism and global best interest."pre bonded hair
"We were careful not to take decisions that were likely to cripple the business interest of the operators we regulate," said the commission's executive vice chairman Umar Danbatta.
"Besides, the downturn of the global economy is biting hard on everybody and every sector, so we must therefore be sensitive and flexible in our decisions," he said in the statement.
After MTN's announcement, its shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange rose as much as 21 percent, on track for the biggest gain since 2008, according to Bloomberg News.
The country's telecoms regulator had handed down the fine last year citing an inability to trace users in a country plagued by frequent kidnappings and Boko Haram militants.
The sum was originally set at $5.2 billion before being to lowered to $3.9 billion on appeal.
'Relief to investors' -
"MTN is pleased to inform shareholders that the matter has been resolved with the Federal Government of Nigeria," the company statement said.
MTN executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko "expresses his thanks and gratitude to (the Nigerian government) for the spirit in which the matter was resolved," it added.
MTN paid one instalment in February and has scheduled six other payments to cover the fine by May 2019.
"The news is a huge relief to investors, given the fact that Nigeria ended up not imposing the initial amount of the fine," Dobek Pater, telecoms specialist at the Africa Analysis consultancy, told AFP.
"MTN could not afford to lose a major market such as Nigeria and by paying the fine it shows that they still have faith in keeping their investment there."
As part of the deal has undertaken to "tender an apology" to the government and people of Nigeria over the matter, according to the NCC.
It also promised to "take immediate steps steps to ensure the listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as commercially and legally possible," said the NCC.
The Boko Haram violence has left at least 17,000 dead and forced more than 2.6 million people from their homes since 2009.remy hair extensions
The MTN fine dominated South Africa's President Jacob Zuma visit to Nigeria earlier this year.
Commenting on the MTN penalty, President Muhammadu Buhari had in March said his government was more concerned about national security than the fine.
"You know how the unregistered GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) are being used by terrorists.
"Unfortunately MTN was very slow and contributed to the casualties," said Buhari during Zuma's visit to Nigeria.
Relations between the continent's two economic powerhouses have been strained over recent years on issues including economic rivalry and political friction.
South Africa's growth has been undermined by the slowdown in China and falling commodity prices, while Nigeria, the continent's top oil producer, has suffered from low oil prices.
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Chris Rock's 33-year-old girlfriend Megalyn Echikunwoke flashed a diamond ring on her wedding finger on Saturday evening while at the Apollo in the Hamptons 2016 party in New York City.
The timing is interesting as the next day the comedian finalized his divorce from wife of 20 years, Malaak Compton-Rock.
The ring - a yellow gold double band with a small diamond - could be an engagement ring. As PageSix revealed on Thursday, a friend shared a clear image of the ring and added it was time to celebrate 'new beginnings,' strongly suggesting the standup could be on his way to another marriage.
Bling it on! Chris Rock's girlfriend Megalyn Echikunwoke flashed diamond ring on wedding finger on Sunday the night before his divorce was finalized from wife of 10 years Malaak
'Last night we celebrated new beginnings . . . #lovewins,' the unidentified friend wrote in the caption.
The site pointed out Echikunwoke seemed to take a dig at Malaak when she replied 'Bye, Felicia,' which is a catchphrase that pretty much translates to 'don't let the door hit you on the way out,' only not as polite.
A friend added crying-laughter emojis.perruques cheveux naturels
They look good together: The standup and Echikunwoke at the Governor's Ball at the 88th Academy Awards back in February; she does not appear to have the ring on here
The post was then taken down.
The beauty glowed as she held onto Rock, who was also in great spirits. She had on a lovely floral-print dress with spaghetti straps and her hair was worn down over her bare shoulders.
A source told PageSix, 'she always wears that ring,' which appears to be true as she has had it on several times in the past six months. They have been dating for one year and she lives at his New Jersey home.
The last one: Rock and Malaak back in 2014; they have two daughters together and have raised an adopted daughter as well
His rep then said Chris was '100 percent' not engaged.
On Monday Chris and Malaak both appeared in a New Jersey courtroom to finalise the split, reported TMZ.
The 51-year-old comic actor and his wife - who have been separated since 2014 -have two daughters Lola Simone, 14 and Zahra Savanna, 12.
Chris and Malaak Compton-Rock also appear to have been raising eight-year-old Ntombi, who first came to live with them from South Africa when she was six months old, according to the website, although details are unclear.
In divorce papers, Malaak listed Ntombi-futhi Samantha as a dependent along with the Rocks’ two biological daughters.
The kids: Chris with Malaak and children Lola, Zahra Savanna and Ntombi at the Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted premiere in NYC in 2012
She stated that in addition to their two children, there is a child 'who has resided with the parties since before her first birthday.'
But rather mysteriously, a spokesman for Chris told TMZ he does not have an adopted child.perruques cheveux
TMZ previously reported that back in 2008, the family took in Ntombi who remained in their house and was subsequently enrolled in a local school.
She mingles with the big guns: Chris and Megalyn with Harvey Weinstein at the Apollo party
The site added that the girl's parents were thought to be unemployed and from South Africa, although it is not known why she was living with the Rock family.
They add that when Chris and Malaak began divorce proceedings, Chris maintained contact with his two biological daughters.
However their divorce case is sealed so it is not known what settlement was reached.
Meanwhile, Chris began dating actress Megalyn earlier this year. Megalyn, who has had recurring roles in 24, ER, CSI Miami, The 4400, 90210 and Damien, was most recently featured as the animal-powered Vixen in the TV series Arrow.
Madonna surprised fans with an unexpected appearance at a 25th anniversary screening of her documentary Truth Or Dare on Wednesday.
The superstar showed up at the event held at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan to the delight of the 400 or so in the audience.
The 58-year-old pop culture icon shared a couple of photos on her Instagram showing her standing between two on-screen images of herself from her Blond Ambition tour of 1990.
'Surreal moment!' she wrote alongside the picture.
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'Surreal moment!' Madonna surprised fans at a 25th anniversary screening of documentary Truth Or Dare and posed next to images of herself from the 1990 Blond Ambition Tour
Madonna: Truth Or Dare was first released in May 1991 and followed the Material Girl on tour and showed her behind-the-scenes with then-boyfriend Warren Beatty, praying with her backup dancers and facing arrest for public indecency at her concert in Toronto, Canada.
'So many freedoms we take for granted that we did not have then. Thank you Alek Keshishian. We changed history with this film.!' Madonna wrote.
Keshishian directed the film that was shot in black and white.lace front wigs
Who's that girl? The pop icon, who just turned 58, delighted the 400 or so fans gathered to watch the film at the museum Of Modern Art in Manhattan on Wednesday
Demure: Madonna wore an off-he-shoulder red dress with white floral detailing and cinched at the waist with a black band for her surprise appearance
Sharing 'a kiki': She was accompanied by her daughter Lourdes 'Lola' Leon, 19
In a second photo shared via her Instagram, she's seen sharing 'a kiki' with daughter Lourdes Leon or Lola as she calls her.
Madonna wore a red off-the-shoulder dress with a flounce neckline and black spaghetti straps.
The frock features white floral detailing, half-sleeves and was cinched under the bust with a black band.
She added a matching black and white floral patterned purse and wore her signature blonde hair styled in loose waves to her shoulders.
Madonna had just returned from a birthday trip to Cuba with Lola, 19, and adopted children, 10-year-olds David and Mercy.cosplay wigs
Truth Or Dare AKA In Bed With Madonna showed behind-the-scenes footage of the singer including candid moments with then-boyfriend Warren Beatty and prayer circles with her dancers
Getaway: Madonna recently celebrated her 58th birthday with a trip to Cuba accompanied by daughter Lola, 19, and her adopted children David and Mercy, both 10