The Competition and Consumer Protection (CCP) tribunal has issued a fresh ruling to MultiChoice Nigeria Limited (MCNL) over their rate increase.
Meanwhile, the tribunal ordered Multichoice to return to DStv and Gotv's previous prices. DStv and Gotv, two of Nigeria's most popular subscription-based satellite television providers, are owned by Multichoice.
Three-judge panel presided over by Thomas Okosun issued the order on Monday following an oral motion for delay by Jamiu Agoro for his client to answer to counter-affidavit and written address, containing a contempt allegation, filed against him by the client.
Agoro further stated that he had challenged the tribunal's authority to hear the case in court. Attorney Festus Onifade filed suit against the corporation on behalf of the Nigerian consumer group he represents.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) is the second respondent in the case against MultiChoice Nigeria Limited.
Prior to the hearing and decision on the application on notice filed on March 30, Onifade requested an injunction from the tribunal preventing the company from boosting subscriptions for its services and other items on April 1.
To maintain the "status quo antebellum," the tribunal had approved an ex-parte request (to maintain the situation as it existed before).
MultiChoice's managing director, John Ugbe, and the company's directors were summoned to appear before the panel for alleged disobedience of the panel's March 30 ruling. Onfade had filed a written address and contempt proceedings against them on Monday.
There has been a rise in DStv and GOtv package costs, according to research conducted by TheCable.
Agoro said, "As much as the questions which the tribunal has posed, the issue has been where there is an order of the court and an aggrieved party who had either applied to set aside that order or had exercised its rights of appeal against that order, such party cannot be held to be in contempt of that order."
In support of his claims, he drew on precedent from other courts.
In light of this and a slew of other evidence, we argue that we are not in contempt of this court's order," he stated.
"This court must first explore whether it has jurisdiction to decide the case," the petitioner stated regarding his challenge to the tribunal's authority.
According to Onifade, the case was set to be heard at the hearing of the motion on notice, which sought a permanent restraining order against the business until the action was decided.
This is in response to the company's move to dismiss the tribunal's jurisdiction over their case, which was also counter-affidavits by him.
Ordered that the status quo be kept antebellum until the hearing and decision of the matter were completed, Okosun issued a quick judgment.
The issue will be adjourned after hearing both sides' arguments, Okosun said. "The first and second defendants have requested an adjournment to submit their procedures," he added.
It is, therefore, necessary to maintain the status quo antebellum by an order from March 30.
The hearing was postponed to May 5th, at the judge's request.