NewsCourt Fines Multichoice N150m, Orders One Month Free DSTV, GOTV Subscription

Court Fines Multichoice N150m, Orders One Month Free DSTV, GOTV Subscription

June 7, (THEWILL)- The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT), sitting in Abuja, has awarded a fine of N150 million against MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, for disrespecting its restraining order.

In a unanimous decision on Friday, Saratu Shafii, who led two other members of the tribunal panel (Thomas Okosun and Dr Umar Duhu), also ordered MultiChoice to provide Nigerians with a one-month free subscription on its DSTV and GOTV services.

The orders followed an ex-parte motion filed on behalf of MultiChoice subscribers by a legal practitioner, Mr Festus Onifade.

Meanwhile, the tribunal has fixed July 3, to hear the substantive suit against the company.

The CCPT had on April 29, restrained MultiChoice Nigeria Limited from effecting a planned tariffs hike on its products and services, on May 1.

Onifade had approached the tribunal, alleging that an eighth-day notice the respondent gave before hiking prices of its services, was grossly inadequate.

He contended that the tribunal had in its previous rulings, stressed that at least one month notice must be given to subscribers before such increase in prices of both DSTV and GOTV services could be effected.

Specifically, the Applicant, in the motion that was moved by his counsel, Ejiro Awaritoma, applied for, “an order of interim injunction of this honourable tribunal restraining the 1st defendant whether by themselves, her privies, assigns by whatsoever name called from going ahead with impending price increase schedule to take effect from 1st May, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

“An order restraining the 1st defendant from taking any step(s) that may negatively affect the rights of the claimant and other consumers in respect of the suit pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice.”

Cited as defendants in the suit marked: CCPT/OP/2/2024, were MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC.

In its ruling, the tribunal granted the interim orders as prayed. It restrained Multi-Choice from proceeding with its scheduled price increase, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed before it.

“The 1st defendant is hereby restrained from taking any step(s) that may negatively affect the rights of the claimant and other consumers in respect of the suit pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice”, it held.

But despite the restraining order, MultiChoice proceeded with its planned tariff hike, even as it challenged the jurisdiction of the tribunal to issue the interim orders against it.

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