Liberia: Central Bank Imposes Fine on Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile for Regulatory Breaches

Monrovia, Liberia – The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) has taken decisive action against Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile, the country's largest mobile money operator and a subsidiary of South Africa's telecom giant MTN. The financial regulator has found the company guilty of several regulatory infractions.

In a letter addressed to Mr. Rahul De, Managing Director of Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile, the CBL detailed the reasons for the hefty fine. The regulator cited "continuous violations of CBL’s mobile money regulations and failure to conform to the minimum corporate governance requirements by the CBL" as the primary causes for the penalty.

Following the imposition of the fine, Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile's CEO appealed to the CBL, requesting that the fine be waived. However, the CBL rejected the appeal in a subsequent letter, reaffirming the necessity of immediate payment and insisting that the company align itself with the CBL’s regulatory standards.

The CBL noted that Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile has been in persistent violation of its regulations since it began operations. Despite having paid the fine, sources close to the CBL revealed that the company still has not fully complied with the regulatory requirements. The CBL has warned that further non-compliance could lead to additional penalties.

This is not the first time MTN has faced regulatory scrutiny. The company's operations in other African countries have also come under fire. In Nigeria, MTN was fined  in October 2015 for failing to disconnect five million unregistered subscribers.

The Central Bank of Liberia's decisive action against Lonestar Cell MTN Mobile underscores the importance of regulatory compliance and corporate governance. As the company works to meet the CBL's standards, the broader implications for MTN’s operations in Liberia and other African markets remain to be seen.