Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and MTN Rwanda are holding closed-door discussions over a multibillion fine slammed against the telecom company , KT Press has established.
According to MTN Rwanda, the hefty fine threatens its annual income.
Last month, on May 17, RURA imposed a massive fine worth $8.5 million (Rwf 7, 030,000,000).
The fine is related to non-compliance with the directives issued by the regulator prohibiting the inclusion of MTN Rwanda in the MTN South and East Africa (SEA) IT hub based in Uganda.
However, there is no specific deadline for MTN Rwanda to pay this fine. But the regulator insists that if the telecom doesn’t abide by this directive, a follow up action will be taken.
“We are waiting for them to implement. The ball is in their hands and if they don’t comply we shall have to take other measures,” said Tony Kulamba, the RURA spokesman.
Both MTN Rwanda and RURA couldn’t disclose progress of the closed-door discussion that have been taking place since last month.
A source at MTN Rwanda said that the outcome of discussion cannot be disclosed for now but the company stands by the earlier press statement released to the public in response to the regulator’s fine.
“MTN has been engaging with the regulator on this matter over the past four months. MTN- Rwanda is currently studying the official notification and will continue to engage with the regulator on this matter,” a statement issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs in Johannesburg read.
“As a regulator, RURA is an independent government organ, and once such a decision is taken, chances of MTN appealing the reversal of the fine could be slim,” said J. Nepomuscène Mugengangabo, a lawyer based in Kigali.
This is not the first time that MTN Rwanda has locked horns with RURA over breaching regulations on quality services of slow Internet connections and unreliable mobile money services.
In 2012, MTN Rwanda and Tigo Rwanda were given a fine notice of Rwf3million ($4,788) per day for a maximum of one month.