Friday, 17 April 2015

Lawyers Ask Court To Jail MultiChoice MD For Disobeying Court Order

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 a court order.

Ugbe, alongside the Public Relations Manager of the company, Caroline Oghuma, is liable to being jailed if found guilty of the accusation filled against them. The lawyers had, on April 2, 2015, secured a court order of lag injunction restraining MultiChoice from giving effect to its proposed 20 per cent increament on subscription fee to the Digital Satellite Television (DStv).

Justice C.J. Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos, who made the lag order, had 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 complianants, Oyeniyi, informed the court that in spite of the court order, MultiChoice had not stopped its new rates, which had commenced from April 1.

“My Lord, whether wrongly or rightly, on the 2nd of April, your Lordship made an order that is bound to be obeyed. We filed a further affidavit citing the defendants for contempt of court,” Oyeniyi said.

In their motion on notice, served on the defendants along with Forms 48 and 49, the lawyers attached as exhibits copies of receipts issued by MultiChoice to certain subscribers reflecting payment of the new subscription rate of N13, 980 rather than the old rate of N11, 650 in spite of the court order.

“It is in the interest of justice to grant this application and empower the honourable court as the place of last resort to the plaintiffs in preserving the dignity of the court,” the plaintiffs pleaded as they urged the court to make an order of committal against Ugbe and Oghuma.

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 including The Punch, ThisDay, The Guardian and The Sun, to all subscribers for violating the court order.


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