A weekend of speculation about MTN’s massive Nigerian fine has culminated in the resignation of CEO Sifiso Dabengwa.
Non-executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko will act as executive chairman for the next six months, while MTN identifies a successor for Dabengwa.
“Due to the most unfortunate prevailing circumstances occurring at MTN Nigeria, I, in the interest of the company and its shareholders, have tendered my resignation with immediate effect,” Dabengwa said by way of a statement this morning.
Nhleko comments: “I will assume responsibility as executive chairman for the next six months as I proactively deal with the Nigerian regulator and wcill continue to work with them in addressing the issues around unregistered subscribers as a matter of urgency.
“Together with the MTN board, my second priority will be to find an appropriate CEO to take MTN forward. I will then revert to my non-executive Chairman role,” Nhleko adds.
MTN will continue to inform shareholders of any material engagements with the Nigerian authorities.
Over the weekend, a number of rumours surfaced regarding the R71-billion fine that was levied against MTN for not deregistering subecribers from its Nigerian network.
Reuters ran a story suggesting that a failure to trace the owners of SIM cards used by kidnappers when a politician was captured in September was the last straw for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
City Press, meanwhile, believes that the South African government may have known about the fine before it became public, and possibly intervened in an attempt to have it reduced.