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Tribunal fines Multichoice N150m, orders DSTV, GoTV to give Nigerians one-month free subscription

The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) has fined Multichoice Nigeria, the parent company of DSTV and GoTV N150 million for disobeying its order.

Besides, the tribunal ordered that the pay-tv provider give a one-month free subscription of its DStv and GOtv package to its Nigerian customers.

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 price increase was inadequate after which the tribunal ordered the pay-tv not to increase its subscription fees without proper notice.


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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 jurisdiction of the tribunal on the price restraining order.




     

     

    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 interim order and going ahead to implement a price increase for DStv and GOtv packages after it had barred it from doing so was intolerable, adding that succ should not be allowed, after which it dismissed the company’s preliminary objection for disobeying its orders.

    Following Multichoice’s noncompliance with the tribunal order, the tribunal ordered an administrative penalty against the firm. “The first defendant is hereby mandated to pay N150 million penalty,” the tribunal ruled.

    It further ruled that Multichoice is “hereby ordered to give Nigerians one-month free subscription”.

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