Lawyer initiates contempt proceedings against MultiChoice manager over tariff hike

A lawyer, Festus Onifade, Tuesday, commenced contempt proceedings against Mr Mohammed Sani, the manager of Abuja office of Multi-Choice Nigeria Ltd.

Sanni allegedly disobeyed an earlier order made by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT).

The CCPT presided over by Saratu Shafii it would be recalled made an interim order, restraining the pay-TV firm from increasing DStv and Gotv tariffs scheduled to begin on May 1, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

The order was given by the three-member tribunal following an ex-parte motion moved by Ejiro Awaritoma, counsel for the claimant, Onifade.

The claimant and a subscriber, Onifade had sued MultiChoice and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) as 1st and 2nd defendants.

But despite the order, the company, on May 1, hiked the subscription rates for its DStv and GOtv packages.

Meanwhile, a Notice of Consequence of Disobedience to Order of Court (Form 48) marked: CCPT/OP/02/2024 dated and filed on May 7, warned Sani against disregarding the tribunal order.

At the resumed hearing, Onifade told the tribunal that the matter was slated for hearing of his motion on notice.

Raising an objection, counsel for the Multichoice, Moyosore Onigbanjo, SAN, told the court about his application filed on April 30, challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to make the order it made on April 29.

He argued further that he also filed a memorandum of conditional appearance on the same date, where the jurisdiction of the court is challenged.

He argued that the issue had to be decided before proceeding on other matters.

Onigbanjo then asked for an adjournment to enable him respond to fresh processes served on him by Onifade, insisting that the issue of jurisdiction must be addressed first.

Counsel to the FCCPC (2nd defendant), M. Adeke, admitted that he had been served with the processes in the matter, asking for an adjournment to enable the commission respond to all the applications served on it.

With no objection raised concerning the bail application, the tribunal led by Thomas Okosun adjourned the matter till May 16, 2024 for hearing.