MultiChoice Nigeria to appeal a ₦150 million fine imposed by regulator

·
June 8, 2024
·
2 min read
MultiChoice's building

The news: 

  • On Friday, MultiChoice Nigeria announced its intentions to appeal the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal's ruling in Abuja. The company also said the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal “breached their right to fair hearing.”
  • This comes after the tribunal fined MultiChoice Nigeria, a South African-based pay-TV operator subsidiary, ₦150 million for going against the jurisdiction of a court ruling restraining it from increasing the prices of its DStv and GOtv packages
  • The tribunal's decision, delivered by a three-member panel led by Thomas Okosu, also ordered the company to provide Nigerians with a one-month free subscription on its two platforms, DStv and GOtv. 

The tribunal had previously restrained the subscription-based television company from raising its subscription fees without adequate notice, following a motion filed by Barrister Festus Onifade, who stated that Multichoice's 8-day notice of a price increase needed to be revised.

The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal had asked MultiChoice to postpone its expansion plans pending the outcome of Onifade's lawsuit. From all indications, the company violated the restraint order. 

In the suit marked CCPT/OP/2/2024 against Mult-Choice Nigeria Ltd. and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission  (FCCPC), Onifade accused the company of impulsively increasing subscription fees without the required one-month notice to customers.

Consequently, the three-member tribunal chaired by Saratu Shafii ruled in favour of Onifade, restraining MultiChoice in the interim from proceeding with the price hike that was scheduled to take effect on May 1, 2024, until the court could hear and determine the Motion on Notice. 

Advertisement

However, Moyosore J. Onibanjo filed a preliminary objection, requesting that the court decline jurisdiction on Onifade's motion because the power to regulate prices is vested in Nigeria's president, and strike it out because the same dispute case had already been decided in favour of MultiChoice.  

Onifade, however, argued that the inadequate notice was the issue he placed before the court rather than the price increase itself, which led the tribunal to assert its jurisdiction and restrain the company.

In addition, Onifade asked the tribunal to order MultiChoice Nigeria to pay N1 billion or any amount it deemed appropriate for “deliberately disobeying, contravening, and failing to comply with the Interim Order of this Honourable Tribunal granted on the 29th April 2024.” The court fined the company ₦150 million. 

On the part of the FCCPC, also named in Onifade’s suit, Nikiomari Abeke, the counsel for the commission, told the tribunal that he wasn’t opposing MultiChoice Nigeria’s application and would abide by the panel's verdict.  

On Friday, June 7, 2024, the panel recalled that Section 39(2) of the FCCPC Act gives the tribunal jurisdiction over all profit-making commercial activities throughout the federation. 

Be the smartest in the room

Join 30,000 subscribers who receive Techpoint Digest, a fun week-daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, directly in your inbox, hours before everyone else.
Digest Subscription

Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy Policy.

The tribunal also noted that Onifade's lawsuit did not challenge the MultiChoice price increase, but rather the illegality of the company's 8-day notice to its subscribers. The panel added that MultiChoice disobeyed its interim orders, dismissing its preliminary objection.


Got a tip? Our journalists are ready to dig deeper. Please share your insights and information and help us uncover the stories that matter.

Subscribe To Techpoint Digest
Join thousands of subscribers to receive our fun week-daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, directly in your inbox, hours before everyone else.
This is A daily 5-minute roundup of happenings in African and global tech, sent directly to your email inbox, between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m (WAT) every week day! 
Digest Subscription

Give it a try, you can unsubscribe anytime. Privacy Policy.

Other Stories

43b, Emina Cres, Allen, Ikeja.

 Techpremier Media Limited. All rights reserved
magnifier