Cameroon fines MTN for tax evasion

MTN Nigeria Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island Office

MTN Nigeria’s Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos Office

MTN seems to be in more troubles as the Cameroonian anti-corruption authorities have slammed the South African telecommunications giant MTN with fresh fine over tax evasion.

MTN and Orange telecoms bagged over N32 billion ($160 million) fine for failing to pay taxes on games and gambling services, according to the central African nation’s corruption board.

According to Reuters, a wide-reaching probe into the sector led to fines totalling N57 billion ($283 million) and found that other companies, including Camtel and Viettel, were also in violation of regulations.

In the report written by the anti-corruption commission, known as CONAC, MTN and Orange were also accused of not paying taxes on their money transfer system, known as Mobile Money.

The report extends MTN regulatory woes beyond the shores of Nigeria to its border neighbour, Cameroon. On October 26, 2015, MTN acknowledged a N1.04 trillion fine handed down by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

The fine was later reduced to N780 billion, after which the telco took the Nigerian regulator to court, saying the sanction was null and void. At the resumption of hearing last week (see our post on it here), MTN informed the court of its willingness to go for an out of court settlement. The plea was passionately opposed by the lawyers representing the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Attorney General & Minister of Justice. They both doubt MTN’s sincerity in an out of court settlement since previous efforts did not yield expected results. After entertaining arguments from all parties, the presiding judge, Justice Idris adjourned till March 18 for report of settlement or for hearing in the case.

MTN was fined in Nigeria for failure to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards, with a charge of N200,000 on every unregistered subscriber.

MTN is currently re-registering its subscribers nationwide.

Credit: The Cable

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