Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos has barred MTN Nigeria Communications Limited from moving any of its funds from all commercial banks in Nigeria abroad pending hearing of its suit challenging the N1.4trillion fine imposed on it by the Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC.
The Federal Government, through the NCC, initially imposed a fine of $5.2 billion on the telecommunication giants in October 2015, but it was later reduced by 25 per cent to $3.9billion in December after considerations.
But MTN Nigeria dragged the NCC to court, seeking to quash the sanction imposed on it. The company argued that NCC, being a regulator, cannot assume all the functions of the state.
At the court on Tuesday, the judge also directed the parties to maintain status quo.
MTN Nigeria was stopped from moving its funds abroad after the FG, through a motion ex-parte, sought an order of mareva injunction restraining the 21 commercial banks from releasing any funds belonging to MTN.
The FG “sought an order of mareva injunction restraining the aforementioned banks from releasing, further releasing any funds, making sale, transfer or payment of any monies or dealing in any manner whatsoever with any and all monies maintained by the plaintiff/respondent (MTN) or its agents, privies, subsidiaries, sister companies or the like in the aforestated banks that will alter, decline or reduce the amount of the first defendant’s/applicant’s fine against the plaintiff/respondent in the sum of N1,040,000,000,000 which has remained wholly unsatisfied, pending the determination of the motion on notice.”