A Federal High Court in Kano has held that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) acted arbitrarily in suspending the management of Oando Plc.
It declared SEC’s appointment of an interim management null and void and awarded cost of N250,000 against the regulator in favor of the plaintiffs, Oando shareholders.
Justice A. Lewis Allagoa made the ruling in a suit by Alhaji Yakubu Gumel and Alhaji Kabiru Tambari, suing for themselves and on behalf of the Sokoto Zone Shareholders Association of Oando; Tunde Badmus, suing for himself and for the Pacesetters Shareholders Association of Oando.
SEC had filed a preliminary objection to the suit on the ground, among others, that the shareholders were challenging its regulatory powers over Oando.
But the judge observed that this was a wrong assumption because 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.
He dismissed SEC’s objection, noting that the shareholders’ claims fall under their rights as shareholders, according to the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), and was therefore not a capital market issue, but completely under the court’s jurisdiction under Section 251 of the constitution.
The Court further granted all the shareholders’ prayers, specifically that SEC intervening in Oando PLC’s 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.
The ruling follows another last month at the Federal High Court in Abuja, which ruled in favor of another Oando shareholder, Patrick Ajudua.
The court upheld Ajudua’s claim thwt SEC breached his rights as a shareholder and ordered Oando to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) within 90 days of the ruling