Jail Multichoice/DSTv MD, lawyers urge court

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dstv Following an interim order by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, compelling Multichoice to suspend  increment of its subscription fees, two Lagos-based legal practitioners, Oluyinka Oyeniji and Osasuyi Adebayo,  have commenced contempt proceedings against the Managing Director of Multichoice Nigeria Limited, Mr John  Ugbe, for allegedly violating an order of the court.

Ugbe, alongside the Public Relations Manager of the comapny, Caroline Oghuma, is liable to being jailed if found  guilty of the allegation.

The lawyers had, on April 2,  secured a court order of interim injuction restraining Multichoice from giving effect to its proposed 20 per cent increment on subscription fee on the Digital Satellite Television (DStv) being operated by it.

Justice C.J. Aneke, who made the interim order, held that the order would subsist till the determination of a lawsuit contesting the legality of Multichoice’s newly introduced subscription rates on DStv.

However, at the resumed hearing on Thursday, one of the plaintiffs, Oyeniyi, informed the court that in spite of the order of court, Multichoice had not rescinded on its new rates, which had commenced from April 1.

The other prayer contained in their motion on notice was for the court to order Multichoice to make a refund of all excess charges to all customers who had subscribed to the new rate in the face of the subsisting court order.

The plaintiffs also asked for an order mandating Multichoice to tender a full page public apology in four national newspapers to all subscribers for violating the court order.

They also want the court to compel the company to tender televised apology on DStv, as well as via text messages to all subscribers in the country.

Counsel for Multichoice, Mr M.J. Onigbanjo, said his clients had not complied with the order, as it was wrongly made.

He noted that while the order was granted on April 2, the increment that the applicants complained of took effect on April 1 and his client could, therefore, not be held for contempt of court.

But Oyeniyi maintained that the order was for a continuing action rather than a concluded action.

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