Tribunal Slams N25 Million Fine On MultiChoice For Contempt

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The Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC) Tribunal in Abuja, on Thursday, fined MultiChioce Nigeria Limited the sum of N25 million for disregarding its restraining order on tariff increase.

A three-member panel of the tribunal chaired by Thomas Okosun had in a judgement on Tuesday, ordered MultiChoice to produce its audited financial statement to enable it to determine the appropriate penalty for the contempt.

This, the panel ruled, is to “enable the tribunal to determine the appropriate penalty to impose on MultiChoice for being in contempt of the orders of this honourable tribunal made in March.”

The Competition and Consumer Protection (CCPC) Tribunal in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered MultiChoice to produce its audited 2021 financial report for violating the tribunal’s restraining order on tariff increase.

A lawyer, Festus Onifade, and the Coalition of Nigeria Consumers had jointly sued MultiChoice – DSTV and GOTV in Nigeria – and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) over the pay television giant’s increase of the subscription rates for its services and other products.

The tribunal, on 30 March, granted the ex-parte application directing parties to maintain the status quo, pending the determination of the whole suit.

However, MultiChoice disregarded the restraining order by going ahead to increasing the price of its products and services. The pay television firm argued that the process for the tariff hike had been configured and deployed before the interim order was made by the tribunal.

In determining the sanction, on Thursday, the tribunal said MultiChoice breached the order of 30 March and was liable to pay the fine.

“The 1st defendant (MultiChoice) is in contempt of this tribunal,” the tribunal chairman, Mr Okosun said.

Citing Section 51 of the FCCPC Act, 2018, Mr Okosun said, “we hereby order the 1st defendant, MultiChoice Nigeria Ltd, to pay the sum of N25 million only as an administrative penalty for contempt of this honourable tribunal.”