Home News Tribunal fines Multichoice N150m, orders free one-month DStv, GOtv subscriptions

Tribunal fines Multichoice N150m, orders free one-month DStv, GOtv subscriptions

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A competition and consumer protection tribunal (CCPT) has fined Multichoice Nigeria N150 million for challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

In a ruling on Friday, the tribunal ordered the company to provide one-month free subscriptions on DStv and GOtv, for Nigerians.

On April 24, Multichoice Nigeria announced an increase in the cost of subscriptions for its DStv and GOtv packages.

However, on April 29, the tribunal stopped Multi-Choice from increasing its tariffs and cost of products and services, which was scheduled to begin on May 1.

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In response, 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 make.

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 that states that the “tribunal shall have jurisdiction throughout the federation and on all commercial activities aimed at making a profit”.

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“The jurisdiction of this tribunal extends to all business activities within Nigeria,” Okosu ruled.

Okosu said he reviewed relevant provisions referenced by parties and found no provision where an aggrieved consumer who seeks to enforce his rights is required to file a complaint to the Nigerian president or the price control board.

“I have come to the conclusion that this tribunal has the jurisdiction to preside over consumer rights as in the instant case and I resolve this issue against Multichoice,” the judge said.

The tribunal also held that the claimant’s suit was not questioning the Multichoice price hike as claimed by Onigbanjo, but the illegality of his client’s eight-day notice to the customers.

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The tribunal deemed Multichoice’s violation of interim orders and hike in DStv and GOtv prices as unacceptable, noting that it should not be tolerated.

The tribunal also dismissed Multichoice’s preliminary objection for disobeying its interim orders.

Subsequently, the tribunal, imposed an administrative penalty on Multichoice for failing to comply with an order of the tribunal.

“The first defendant is hereby mandated to pay N150 million penalty,” the verdict rules.

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Okosu also ruled that Multichoice is “hereby ordered to give Nigerians one month free subscription”.

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