17 August 2012

Nigeria: Court Stops Okonjo-Iweala, NAICOM From Suspending Alliance and General Insurance

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos and presided over by Justice Patricia Ajoku had restrained the Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her ministry from either approving the removal of directors and management of Alliance and General Insurance or ratifying the appointment of new directors and management to assume control over the company.

The court also stopped the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) from proceeding with the planned sack of the current management of the insurance company.

The judge, while ruling on an ex parte application filed by Alliance & General Insurance, further restrained NAICOM from implementing a directive suspending the insurance company from transacting business in Nigeria for the next six months with effect from August 6, 2012.

Justice Ajoku after listening to the argument from counsel to the plaintiff (Alliance and General Insurance Plc), Ayodele Akintunde, specifically barred NAICOM from either sacking the management of the plaintiff company or appointing new directors to assume control and management of the company.

She ordered NAICOM to remove forthwith from its website, information regarding the suspension of the plaintiff from transacting insurance business in Nigeria for the next six months as well as further publishing same in the national newspapers.

The judge said her orders were to remain in force pending the determination of a motion on notice filed by the plaintiff against the respondents, which include NAICOM, Ministry of Finance, Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation, Bello Adoke (SAN).

But the judge ordered the plaintiff to sign an undertaking to pay damages to the respondents should it later turn out that the orders ought not to have been granted.

The court granted leave to the plaintiff to serve some of the respondents outside jurisdiction with the process filed in the matter and fixed August 22, 2012 for hearing.

The judge ordered that hearing notices should be served on all the respondents.

Akintunde had, while arguing the motion, told Justice Ajoku that the faith of Alliance and General Insurance would be jeopardised should the respondents not be restrained from going ahead with the implementation of the suspension directive.

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