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MultiChoice to appeal N150m fine by tribunal

MULTICHOICE Nigeria has vowed to appeal the ruling of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) after being fined N150 million for disobeying the court.

MultiChoice announced its position in a statement rejecting the order on Friday, June, 7.

The ICIR reported how the CCPT ordered MultiChoice to provide one-month free subscriptions on DStv and GOtv to Nigerians in addition to the N150 million fine.

In April, The ICIR reported that Multichoice announced an increase in subscription rates for its DStv and GOtv packages for the second time in five months.

The new rates were to take effect from May 1.

However, a lawsuit was filed by an Abuja-based lawyer, Festus Onifade, stating that the eight-day notice given for the rate increase was inadequate after which the tribunal ordered the pay-tv not to increase its subscription fees without proper notice.

Responding, Multichoice Nigeria, in May, challenged the tribunal’s verdict restricting it from increasing the prices of its packages. The company, through its lawyer, Moyosore Onibanjo, filed an application on April 30 challenging the tribunal’s jurisdiction on the order.

Meanwhile, in its ruling on Friday, a three-man panel, led by Thomas Okosu, cited section 39(2) of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) Act which states that the “tribunal shall have jurisdiction throughout the federation and on all commercial activities aimed at making a profit”.




     

     

    The tribunal ruled that Multichoice’s breach of the interim order and going ahead to implement a rake hike for DStv and GOtv packages after it had barred it from doing so was intolerable, adding that such should not be allowed, after which it dismissed the company’s preliminary objection for disobeying its order.

    Reacting to the ruling, MultiChoice said it would appeal the ruling, noting the it was restrained from making further comments.

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    “MultiChoice Nigeria is aware of the recent ruling by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) regarding its jurisdiction to entertain a price regulation matter,” the company said.

    “We disagree with the ruling, and will therefore file an appeal against said ruling.”

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    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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