MTN appeals Shs2.3 billion court award to EzeeMoney

MTN Uganda has appealed a court award of Shs2.3b to electronic money provider, EzeeMoney for sabotaging its business

Wednesday November 18 2015

Uganda Shilling notes. MTN has appealed Shs2.3

Uganda Shilling notes. MTN has appealed Shs2.3 billion that court directed the telecom firm to pay to EzeeMoney. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Kampala.

MTN Uganda has appealed a court award of Shs2.3b to electronic money provider, EzeeMoney for sabotaging its business.

“Take notice that the defendant being dissatisfied with the decision of the Commercial Court, intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the whole decision,” reads a notice filed before the court on Monday.

On November 6, the High Court presided over by Justice Henry Adonyo ordered MTN Uganda to pay Shs800m in general damages for loss of business and Shs1.5b to EzeeMoney as punitive damages, saying it would deter uncompetitive business tactics.

Justice Adonyo said MTN breached the law that prohibits anti-competitive conduct against providers of communication services.

Court also ruled that EzeeMoney’s cash transfer services were communications services although EzeeMoney is not registered.
MTN, through its lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates, insist 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.

“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,” said MTN, denying engagement in anti-competitive behaviour.

The case arose from a contract between MTN and EzeeMoney where the latter was supposed to provide digital transmission and fixed lines to the former to carry out its mobile money business.

EzeeMoney sued MTN over breach of the provisions of the Uganda Communications Act in regards to restricted and distorted competition.

The statement
In a statement issued yesterday, MTN lawyers said: “…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.”

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com

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