Multichoice Nigeria Limited, owners and operators of DSTV, has denied disobeying an interim injunction restraining it from enforcing the increase in its subscription rates.
While maintaining that courts cannot fix it subscription rates in a free-market economy, Multichoice also said it was served with the court order a few days after it had enforced its price increase.
The company said it was served with the orders on 8 April, seven days after it had effected the rate increase.
According to MultiChoice, as at 2 April, when the Federal High Court, Lagos, granted the order, the price increase had already taken effect, having commenced on 1 April 2015.
“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 company said.
It added that the contract agreement between MultiChoice and all its subscribers explicitly states that MultiChoice reserves the right to change prices and channels.
This fact, it said, was not disclosed to the court before the orders of interim injunction was obtained.
The company’s lawyers have filed processes challenging the court’s jurisdiction to entertain the matter and 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.
MultiChoice also insisted 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 maintained that it notified the general public and DSTV subscribers that, with effect from 1 April 2015, it would effect an increase in prices charged for its services.
On the 2 April, 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.