Uganda’s leading telecommunication company MTN is set to appeal against the High Court’s decision where it was ordered to pay fees for a transitional license amounting to 14.14 million USD an equivalent of 50.7 billion shillings.
High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana last week in his ruling said that there was no wrongness in UCC‘s decision to inflict transition fees based on a pro-rated assessment and that it was fairly arrived at and it was mentored by the amount paid for of $100m in the currently renewed license.
MTN had earlier petitioned court challenging the legitimacy of the evaluation by UCC for a transitional license between October 2018 and June 2020.
The Telecom company during this period executed it’s duties on short term licenses as negotiations to renew it’s license slowly moved on.
Judge Ssekaana went ahead to dismiss the case with costs, ordering that MTN pays the $14.14M, affirming that UCC, as the regulator of the telecommunications sector, had the authority and the knowledge to evaluate fees for the licences that had been passed on to the telecom company in the 3 year stint.
“It has been shown that the respondent [UCC] arrived at the amount payable as transition fees in the fairest manner and no reasonable person would think otherwise. Otherwise, any amount beyond what was agreed and paid for in the [National Operator] licence would have been challenged as being excessive and using the figure originally paid in Second National Operator licence in 1998 would have been irrational since it would be extremely low,” the judge ruled.
Citing Section 6(1)(a) of the Uganda Communications Act, Justice Ssekaana noted that the estimation and levying of licence fees is one of the operational administrative powers exercisable by UCC under the Uganda Communications Act 2013.
MTN however in a statement said that as much as it respects the decision of the High Court, it would seek a petition in which it would ask the Court of Appeal to review the case.
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“MTN is confident that the Court of Appeal will at an appropriate time, take into consideration all matters raised by MTN comprehensively and pronounce itself in accordance with the law and evidence on record,” the statement signed by Ms Rhona Arinaitwe, the MTN public relations manager, said.
MTN had asked court to cancel a resolution in which UCC had asked it to pay $14.14m as licence fees for the transition period and an order restraining UCC from executing its decision and in any way interfering with or disrupting its functions