25 June 2019

Nigeria: SEC Opposes Oando's Application to Join Tinubu, Boyo's Suit

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday opposed an application for joinder, in a suit before a Federal High Court in Lagos by two Executive Officers of Oando Plc, seeking rights enforcement.

The suit was filed by the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc, Mr. Adewale Tinubu, and his deputy, Mr. Omamofe Boyo, seeking enforcement of their fundamental rights.

Recall that on May 31, The SEC had ordered the applicants and other affected board members to resign over their alleged infractions.

Dissatisfied with the decision, the applicants raised concerns that the alleged infractions and penalties were unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.

They consequently, approached the court by way of an exparte application on June 3, seeking an interim order restraining SEC from giving effect to its decision.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on same June 3, granted the interim orders.

The court restrained SEC, its servants or agents from taking any step concerning the commission's letter dated May 31 in which it barred the applicants from being directors.

The court also restrained Sunmonu from acting as Head of Oando's interim management team, pending the hearing and determination of the motion.

The court had urged parties to maintain the status quo pending the determination of the motion on notice.

The main suit was consequently, assigned to Justice Ayotunde Faji, who on June 13, set down hearing for June 24.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) appeared for the applicants, while Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) appeared for SEC.

Meanwhile, Mr. Yele Delano (SAN) announced appearance as representing Oando.

He expressed the company's intention to be joined in the suit as well as seeking a consolidation of similar suits pending before the court.

He also sought an adjournment to enable him file his processes in the suit.

In response, counsel to SEC, Idigbe raised opposition to their request for joinder, on the grounds that it would predetermine the respondent's case.

According to him, "My Lord, this matter was adjourned today for hearing and I am prepared to go on."

He argued that the issue of consolidation of the cases, is meant to accelerate the matter rather than taking it backward.

He argued that where the court allows the joinder, it would have predetermined the case of the defence and therefore, urged the court to refuse the application.

On his part, Oyetibo argued in favour of the request for joinder and urged the court to allow the party seeking to be joined in the suit.

According to him, if the court refuses the application for joinder, and the party goes on appeal, then he, the applicant, will be affected.

He therefore, urged the court to take a favourable look at the application for joinder, so that progress can be made in the suit.

In a short consideration of the issues, the court held that it was far-reaching to think that the grant of an adjournment to enable a party file a motion, will be considered prejudicial to the defence

On that note, the court adjourned the case until July 4 to hear arguments on the motion for consolidation and also fixed July 22 for hearing of the substantive suit.

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