Saturday, December 3, 2022

Jamali loses first round war with Mmegi

The Competition Consumer Tribunal has ruled against business mogul Seyed Jamali in a case in which he sought some proceedings before it to be stayed.

The proceedings relate to an application that the Competition Consumer Authority had filed with the Tribunal seeking order directing that Jamali company divest itself of the 28.73% shares it had acquired in Mmegi Investment Holdings to an entity or person(s) with no business interests in or affiliated in any way with Universal House as previously directed by the Authority’s decision of 17th February 2017.

The Authority argued that the application by Universal House to have the proceedings stayed, “failed to make out a case for a stay of proceedings in that it has failed to demonstrate that there exist special circumstances which warrant the halting of these proceedings and further that the balance of convenience does not favour the granting of a stay of proceedings in this case.”

Jamali’s company had argued that the proceedings “be stayed pending the final determination of an action instituted by the Applicant (Universal House) in the High Court of Botswana under Case No. CVHGB-001 100-22 and pending the hearing of the Appeal currently before the Court of Appeal.”

Universal House argued that the proceedings instituted by the Authority before the Tribunal should be stayed pending the final determination of an action instituted by Universal House in the High Court of Botswana under Case No. CVHGB-001100-22 AND pending the hearing of the Appeal currently before the Court of Appeal.

In the Case No. CVHGB-001100-22 before High Court, the Applicant (Universal House) seeks to cancel the share sale Agreement it has with Methaetsile Leepile and Titus Mbuya due to an alleged breach by the duo, or otherwise as a result of the February 2017 decision by the Authority; as well as payment of more than P22 million being the purchase price for the shares.

The judgement by the Competition Consumer Tribunal shows that Mmegi Investment has a shareholding interest in Gabz FM. On the other hand, Seyed Jamali, the owner of Universal House, purportedly holds shares in Duma FM.

“Jamali disputes this, saying it is his brother who holds shares in Duma FM. Both Gabz FM and Duma FM are enterprises in the private commercial radio broadcasting services sector,” the judgement states.

It further states that, “It is this point which has given rise to this matter, as ownership of share in Mmegi Investment could give Seyed Jamali control of two private commercial radio stations.”

The judgment was authored by the Tribunal’s Vice President Tendekani Malebeswa. The Tribunal’s President Judge Sanji Monageng and members Tshiano Mosojane, Malebogo Lekgoa Ruth Seipone consented.

Malebeswa found that, “It is only when the Tribunal has control of matters referred to it by the Authority that it can play its role of ensuring that competition law and its remedies are effective disciplining forces in the economy.”

He also found that Universal House did not appeal the February 2017 decision which the Authority now seeks to enforce, nor did it give any undertakings to the Authority. Universal House therefore never provided any reasonable excuse to the Authority.

“The Authority is seeking to enforce its order, which involves divestiture by Universal House. Divestiture is a remedy available to the Authority under the Act,” he said.

Malebeswa said an order made by the Tribunal under s 59 (3) is to provide the Authority with coercive power, so that it can enforce its decision and directions.

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