MTN reacts to UGX 2.3 Bn EzeeMoney court case
In a surprise ruling on 6th November, the Commercial court ordered telecom giant MTN Uganda to pay UGX 2.3 billion (about $662,000) in damages to EzeeMoney Limited for sabotaging its business, the company intends to appeal this ruling. MTN says its dissatisfied with the decision of the Commercial Court, intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision.
Justice Adonyo said MTN breached the law that prohibits anti-competitive conduct against providers of communication services. The Judge said that MTN should pay UGX 800m to EzeeMoney in general damages for loss of business. On top of that also pay a penalty of UGX 1.5bn in punitive damages this is just to ensure that other companies who plan to engage in uncompetitive business should reconsider in the future.
MTN, through its lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates, persist that EzeeMoney is not a licensed communication services provider protected by the Uganda Communications Act, and that the services to EzeeMoney were not terminated but migrated to pre-paid service for failing to fulfill the vetting requirements. They said in a statement
MTN respects the decision of the court but fundamentally disagrees with it. MTN is aggrieved by the judgement primarily because EzeeMoney is not a licensed communications provider. MTN cannot be in breach of the law that prohibits anti-competitive conduct with regard to licensed communications service providers when EzeeMoney is not licensed and does not provide communications. It is wrong and inaccurate for EzeeMoney to state that MTN perceived EzeeMoney’s innovative offerings as a threat when all MTN did was to require EzeeMoney to engage MTN directly and to require EzeeMoney to use the prepaid services. MTN’s position is that these can never be hostile and underhanded actions or abuse and predatory anti-competitive behaviour as alleged.