Court Rules on SEC Suspension of Oando Friday

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Friday, December 15, 2017 has been fixed by Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos for the ruling on a motion filed by Oando Plc, an energy company in Nigeria, against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concerning its suspension on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The leading indigenous oil firm in the country had lost its bid at the same court to stop the capital market regulator from conducting a forensic audit of its affairs, but it appealed against the judgement.

Counsel to Oando, Mr Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), filed a motion before the high court, seeking an injunction to preserve the ‘res’ pending the final determination of the appeal.

He argued that the motion was predicated on his client’s constitutionally guaranteed rights of appeal.

Mr Sowemimo informed the judge that the ‘res’ Oando was asking for was mainly to preserve the integrity of the appeal and not the fruits of the contentious ruling delivered by the court.

He emphasised that if the ‘res’ was not preserved, the appeal would be overreached and rendered nugatory.

According to him, SEC was yet to conduct the forensic audit because it was still expecting Oando to provide the experts with materials to work with.

But counsel to the regulatory agency, Mr Anthony Idigbe (SAN) argued that a motion for injunction calls for the exercise of the court’s jurisdiction.

He stressed that for the motion to scale through, the applicant (Oando Plc) must show exceptional circumstances on why it think the court has jurisdiction to entertain it.

He noted that the court had already delivered a declarative judgement in the matter and that there was nothing again to be stayed.

“The court is ‘functus officio’ after delivering judgement in the matter and we are entitled to the fruits of the judgement which is basically the preservation of the interests of Oando’s shareholders.

“Oando should go to the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) to seek the injunction it is seeking for. They have not told the court why they cannot go to the IST. Granting any injunction will be at the risk of the investing public’s interests.

“They have equally not told the court what they will suffer if the forensic audit was done. We urged the court not to grant this request,” Mr Idigbe urged the judge.

Counsel to the NSE, Mr Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), who agreed with his colleague, urged the court to dismiss the Oando’s motion and affirmed its earlier ruling.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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