New Telegraph

Court voids SEC’s sanctions against Oando management

Oando shareholders in the persons of Alhaji Yakubu Gumel; Alhaji Kabiru Tambari, suing for themselves and on behalf of the Sokoto State Zone Shareholders’ Association; Tunde Badmus, suing for himself and for the benefits of Pacesetters Shareholders’ Association, bagged yet another win at the Federal High Court (FHC) Kano, in a suit filed against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for overreaching its powers. Justice A. Lewis Allagoa, presiding over the ruling, dismissed the regulators preliminary objection and granted all the reliefs sought by the Oando shareholders.

The court dismissed SEC’s objection on the basis that the shareholders’ claims fell under their rights as shareholders according to the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and was therefore not a capital markets issue, hence it was completely under the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court under Section 251 of the constitution.

The court further held that SEC was wrong in assuming that the shareholders were challenging SEC’s regulatory powers over Oando, whereas what the shareholders claimed was that SEC exceeded its regulatory powers thereby making all their actions to date illegal and an infringement of their rights.

The court further granted all the prayers sought by the shareholders, specifically that SEC intervening in Oando Plc management without sharing the forensic audit report that led to the sanctions against the company and concerned directors was the regulator acting beyond the scope of its powers. Also, that SEC acted arbitrarily in suspending the management of Oando and therefore declared the appointment of the interim management null and void; the court, therefore, awarded a N250,000 cost against SEC in favour of the Oando shareholders.

Exactly a month ago, the High Court in Abuja ruled in favour of another Oando shareholder, Patrick Ajudua, who filed a suit against the commission for breach of his rights as a shareholder. The court ruled in his favour ordering Oando to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) within 90 days of the ruling. The plethora of court cases against the SEC was necessitated by the frustration of shareholders. Specifically, minority shareholders had seen the regulator at loggerheads with Oando for nearly four years.

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