MTN CEO Sifiso Dabengwa steps down following fine saga

Former MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa (Photo by Gift Ndolwane)
Former MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa (Photo by Gift Ndolwane)

Barely a week after he traveled to Abuja, Nigeria to negotiate with the country’s regulators, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), following a USD5.2 billion fine slapped on its Nigeria operation for non-deactivation of over 5.1 million unregistered sim cards, MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa has stepped down. The news broke out early Monday in a statement to shareholders.

His departure is being termed a resignation and a honorable gesture following unfortunate circumstances around the company’s Nigeria operations.

“The engagement with the Nigerian authorities on the fine is continuing and shareholders will be advised as soon as there are any material developments on this matter,” MTN said on Monday.

Former MTN Group CEO and current non-executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko has agreed to take on an executive role until Dabengwa is replaced.

MTN Nigeria is the group’s most profitable with the largest subscriber base. According to Brand Africa, MTN remains the “most valuable African brand”.

MTN Nigeria has been embroiled in accusations of tax avoidance schemes including Transfer Pricing.