Two Lagos lawyers, Osasuyi Adebayo and Oluyinka Oyeniji, have filed contempt proceedings at a Lagos Federal High Court, against the Managing Director of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited, operators of the Digital Satellite Television, popularly known as DStv, John Ugbe, for alleged disobedience of the court’s order.
The court had restrained the company from implementing its new rates and increase in tariffs payable by its subscribers across board.
Also listed in the committal proceedings suit is the company’s Public Relations Manager, Mrs. Caroline Oghuma.
Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke had on April 2 handed down the restraining order on the company.
The lawyers, who are also subscribers, had in their motion on notice in support of the application for committal for contempt, sought for an order committing the two MultiChoice officers to prison for disobeying the court’s order.
They also sought for an order mandating MultiChoice to render accounts of all excess charges in tariffs (in contempt of court) with particulars of such subscribers and crediting their accounts against the next renewal and/or remitting such charges back to the customers.
They further prayed for an order mandating the Managing Director and the Public Relations Manager to copy official written undertaking to be filed at the registry of the court to obey all the orders made in the matter post-final determination.
At the resumed hearing on yesterday, MultiChoice lawyer, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), told the court of his client’s applications seeking to discharge the ex-parte order, and another challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.
When the court asked why his client did not comply with its order, Onigbanjo noted it was made a day after MultiChoice started the implementation of the new rates.
He added that the order was brought to the attention of his client on April 8.
According to him, “a party that has challenged the jurisdiction of the court with respect to an order is not bound to obey the court’s order.”
Onigbanjo further informed the court that the status quo as at the time the order was made has been maintained by his client.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Osasuyi Adebayo, faulted Onigbanjo’s claims on why the court’s order had not been complied with.
He said the application for injunction was filed before April 1 and that the court order had not foreclosed the suit.
“The court has made the order. Whether rightly or wrongly, the defendant is duty bound to obey it” he said.
The matter has been adjourned till May 5 for the hearing of all pending applications.
The two lawyers, Adebayo and Oyeniji, had sued MultiChoice to challenge the increase in the subscription rates.
In the restraining orders, Justice Aneke ruled: “That an order of interim injunction is hereby granted to the parties to maintain the status quo restraining the 1st defendant (Multichoice/DSTV) from giving effect or enforcing its planned increase in cost of the different classes of viewing or programmes bouquet, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.”

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