Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners and operators of DStv, has described as inaccurate publications, news reports and commentaries on various media platforms that it disobeyed an interim injunction restraining it from enforcing the increase in subscription rates for its programmes bouquet.
This was contained in a statement in Lagos Thursday by Kemi Shaba of the MultiChoice Legal Department.
The company said as at April 2, when the Federal High Court granted the orders of interim injunction, the price increase had already taken effect, having commenced on April 1.
“The status quo as at 2 April 2015 when the order was made was that the prices had already been increased.
“MultiChoice thus reiterates that it is not in breach of or disobeying the order of interim injunction made by the Federal High Court on 2nd April 2015,” the statement said.
On April 2, Justice C.J Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos, granted an interim injunction, ordering parties to a suit challenging the new subscription rates announced by MultiChoice to maintain the status quo and restrained MultiChoice from enforcing its planned increase in cost of different classes of viewing or programmes bouquet. The court adjourned hearing in the suit till 16 April 16.
MultiChoice claims it was served with the orders on April 8.
The statement further explained that that the contract agreement between MultiChoice and all its subscribers (including the parties who filed the suit) explicitly states that MultiChoice reserves the right to change prices and channels.
This fact, it added, was not disclosed to the court before the orders of interim injunction was obtained.
The statement also said as a result, MultiChoice’s lawyers, on Thursday, filed processes challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the matter and make the order of interim injunction of April 2.
The company’s lawyers have similarly filed processes seeking to set aside the interim injunction on several grounds.
One of these is whether a court is legally empowered to fix prices for a private concern such as MultiChoice in a free-market economy, the model that exists in the country.
MultiChoice also insists that its challenge of the jurisdiction of the court and the application to set aside the order make the interim injunction unenforceable until the determination of the court’s jurisdictional competence.
“When the suit came at the Federal High Court on Thursday, our lawyers raised all these issues before the honourable court and the matter was adjourned to 5th May 2015 for hearing of the application challenging jurisdiction of the court,” the company said.
MultiChoice maintains that it notified the general public and DStv subscribers that, with effect from April 1, it would effect an increase in prices charged for its services.
Counsel in the class action suit brought against DStv on the matter had Thursday informed the court that the satellite television service provider had gone ahead to give effect to its price increase contrary to the order given by the court.
Oluyinka Oyeniji led a team of lawyers, including Osasuyi Adebayo, Mufutau Olajobi, Yemi Salman and Fola Oluwole for the applicants.
DStv was represented by Moyo Onigbanjo (SAN) and M.K. Adesina among other lawyers.
Mr. Onigbanjo informed the court of his pending preliminary objection and application to set aside the orders of the court.
But Mr. Oyeniji objected.
He informed the court of his application for interlocutory injunction.
He also told Justice Aneke that DSTV had disobeyed the orders of the court and that relevant applications for contempt proceedings had been filed.
The court then adjourned the matter till May 5, 2015 for the argument of the preliminary objection.
It is after that it will then take arguments on the motion for interlocutory injunction, which had earlier been scheduled for the day.