On Thursday, February 25, 2021, in a ruling presided over by Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo on the Federal Excessive Courtroom docket, Abuja, the choose declined jurisdiction to take heed to matches launched by Oando PLC and its administrators within the route of the Securities and Commerce Worth (SEC). The choose said that the Funding and Securities Tribunal (IST) might very properly be the suitable dialogue board to take heed to the matter.
The premise for the Courtroom docket’s dedication is Half 36(2) of the Development which permits aggrieved people to first method any tribunal or administrative agency to look out out civil rights and obligations so long as that course of and the next dedication shouldn’t be closing. The Courtroom docket furthermore reiterated that the IST has major jurisdiction over Oando and its administrators in respect of capital market elements and not at all the Federal Excessive Courtroom docket.
In July 2017 it obtained proper right here to public consideration that the SEC was investigating Oando PLC; a protracted drawn out investigation adopted culminating all through the infamous May 31, 2019 letter from SEC to Oando discovering them accountable of a great deal of infractions and imposing stiff sanctions. In response, Oando and a few of its administrators filed matches within the route of the regulator for not following due course of and a breach of their human rights to listening to. Along with submitting matches within the route of the regulator, Oando took out and was granted by the Federal Excessive Courtroom docket of Lagos an injunction restraining the SEC from executing any of the sanctions in its May 31, 2019 letter.
An Oando official has outlined that as a lot as they respect the collection of the courtroom docket docket, the battle is much from over as of their opinion, that is nonetheless very a lot a case for the judiciary and thus Oando has lodged an enchantment with the courts in Abuja, contesting the courtroom docket docket’s dedication that the matches are finest heard by the IST. The thought being that justice will solely be served by means of the courts and not at all the IST as urged by the presiding choose.
The corporate and its affected administrators argue that the powers conferred by the Development of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on its residents to implement their elementary rights supersede the provisions of the Funding and Securities Act 2007.
They’ve furthermore filed an software program program for protect of execution together with an injunction pending enchantment on the SEC’s May 31, 2019 letter to the Company, and as such the established order that existed prior to correct this second’s ruling stays unchanged that means almost 2 years on SEC’s arms are tied they normally’re nonetheless unable to implement sanctions imposed on the corporate or its administrators. It begs the query at what stage does the regulator determine to deal with this downside in an alternate and additional productive methodology.
Nonetheless Thursday’s ruling and Oando’s enchantment is barely the tip of the iceberg, 2021 has kicked off with shareholders weighing into this extended drawn out battle. The shareholders have known as on the SEC and Oando to settle the matter out of courtroom docket docket, because of the tussle continues to impression their investments. Some shareholders have gone so far as dragging each events to courtroom docket docket to hunt an finish to this deadlock.
This month, diversified factions of Oando’s shareholders filed a case within the route of the SEC all through the folks of Alhaji Yakubu Gumel; Alhaji Kabiru Tambari, suing for himself and on behalf of the Sokoto Zone Shareholders Affiliation; Tunde Badmus, suing for himself and for the advantages of Pacesetters Shareholders Affiliation, on the Federal Excessive Courtroom docket Kano.
The shareholders filed for an interim order restraining SEC its brokers or representatives from performing on its May 31, 2019, letter sanctioning the Administration of Oando. The orders have been granted on Friday, February 19, 2021, and current in courtroom docket docket have been attorneys for each SEC and the shareholders. The order restrains the SEC, its brokers or anybody performing on behalf of the worth from disturbing or meddling with the affairs, administration and actions of Oando PLC. It furthermore restrains the SEC’s purported interim Administration from meddling all through the administration and actions of the corporate together with an order restraining SEC from interfering with the shareholder’s apply and effectivity of their statutory powers and duties as shareholders.
Alhaji Tambari Kabiru, one amongst many candidates, and Oando shareholder since 1991 outlined why he determined to sue the apex regulator. He acknowledged “I’m not happy with the current state of my investment. I invested my money heavily with the hopes of capital appreciation and this has not been the case. This SEC and Oando case is affecting the value of our investment, it isn’t appreciating, instead, it gets worse each year. For over two years now we have been totally in the dark on our investment in Oando. Where in the world is this done? Oando’s shares would have appreciated greatly if this issue wasn’t hovering over our heads. Year on year, our investment has depreciated in value. We are tired! As a shareholder I am strongly behind the Management of Oando. Not everyone can withstand the backlash this crisis has put the Management through these past four years and still remain committed to doing the job. We have reached out to the SEC and appealed for a resolution, but they haven’t listened to us, that’s why we’ve taken this matter to court.”
The courtroom docket docket listening to between the SEC and aggrieved shareholders in Kano has been adjourned to March 17, the place it’s hoped a useful ruling will possibly be delivered by the courtroom docket docket.
Amidst all of this was excellent news for one shareholder. On Tuesday, February 23, 2021, there was a courtroom docket docket ruling in favour of an Oando shareholder Engr. Patrick Ajidua. He had challenged the regulator in a swimsuit filed on the Excessive Courtroom docket of the FCT. He had challenged the SECs appropriate to forestall the convening of an Annual Main Assembly as a breach of his appropriate to freedom of affiliation.
In a listening to presided by Honorable Justice O. A Musa, all circumstances filed have been granted in favour of Engr. Patrick. In abstract, the choose declared that the May 31, 2019 letter of SEC to Oando sanctioning its administration, as unconstitutional, null and void and violation of Engr. Patrick’s elementary appropriate to listening to and his human appropriate to accumulate information on the affairs of Oando and his curiosity and shares in Oando and additional importantly instituted that inside 90 days of the ruling Oando must convene an AGM for her shareholders.
The Securities and Commerce Worth (SEC) has denied the declare by Engr Patrick Ajudua, that he gained a courtroom docket docket case within the route of the capital market apex regulator. SEC disclosed in a press launch it issued on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, that there was in no way a time it was served with courtroom docket docket processes with respect to the purported matter on the FCT Excessive courtroom docket docket.
It said, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the Commission) has been drawn to several publications in the media, where it is reported that a shareholder of Oando PLC, purportedly obtained a judgment from the Federal Capital Territory High Court against the Commission. The Commission wishes to inform the general public that it was never at any time served with court processes with respect to the purported matter at the FCT High court. The Commission will consequently take all necessary steps to verify and set aside the purported decision of the said Court.”
This denial is a transparent affront to the Nigerian judiciary, implying that Honorable Justice O. A Musa who presided over the case made a judgement with out giving SEC the chance to defend itself. That is reverse to courtroom docket docket paperwork which have been sighted which degree out that SEC was served processes nonetheless didn’t seem in courtroom docket docket. As rapidly as as quickly as further it appears the regulator is detached to shareholder investments or the emotions of the capital market and should doggedly proceed to battle Oando PLC.