A Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC) Tribunal in Abuja, has invited MultiChoice Nigeria Managing Director, John Ugbe.
The tribunal on Tuesday, September 06, 2022, asked Ugbe to appear on September 8 with the company’s 2021 audited financial report.
The three-member panel headed by Thomas Okosun, also ordered directors of the company to appear on the same date.
What could happen: The officials may face sanctions for the alleged breach of a restraining order on DStv and GOtv tariff hike.
Who dragged Multichoice to court: On July 25, the tribunal fixed today for judgment in the suit filed by Festus Onifade, a legal practitioner, and Coalition of Nigeria Consumers.
Why Multichoice was taken to court: They had sued MultiChoice and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) after the company increased subscription prices on April 1, 2022.
The litigants prayed the tribunal to stop the increment pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated and filed on March 30.
Multichoice ignores court ruling: The tribunal granted the ex-parte motion, directing parties to maintain the status quo but MultiChoice implemented the new rates announced on March 30.
What is going on now: In a motion on notice, the claimants urged the tribunal to invite the MD and the directors to explain why they should not be committed to prison for willful disobedience
They also sought an order directing MultiChoice to pay 10 per cent of its annual turnover for failure to comply with the order in accordance with Section 51 (1) and 2 of the FCCPC Act, 2018.
On April 11, the tribunal again ordered the company to revert to old prices by maintaining the status quo of its March 30 order, pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
“The Managing Director and directors of the 1st defendant (MultiChoice) are to appear before this honourable tribunal with certified true copies of their audited financial report of year 2021,” the panel ruled today.
The tribunal said the report would enable it to determine “the appropriate penalty to impose on MultiChoice for being in contempt of the orders of this honourable tribunal made in March”.
Section 51 of the CCPT Act states that upon conviction for contempt, a company is liable to pay a fine not less than “N100 million or 10 per cent of its turnover in the preceding year.”
MultiChoice’s lawyer, Jamiu Agoro informed that Ugbe and others were out of Nigeria and might not be present on Thursday, September 08, 2022.
Responding, the tribunal said those invited could be represented by other senior members of staff.