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Court Order Stops Sale Of 9Mobile

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The Judiciary

Following the opposition to the sale of the company by some aggrieved shareholders of the company, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered a pause in the process to sell off 9mobile (formerly Etisalat)

Justice Nyako gave the order on Wednesday while ruling on an ex parte motion brought by the shareholders.

The Court Order will put a hold to Teleology ‘s bid.

As earlier reported by Naija News, Teleology which emerged the preferred  bidder in the sale process for 9mobile had last month paid a $50 million non-refundable deposit for 9mobile and was given 90 days to pay the balance of $450 million to conclude its acquisition of the telecoms firm.

One of the companies said to be a shareholder in 9mobile and is a plaintiff in the suit, is owned by Katsina businessman, Alhaji Dahiru Mangal.

But Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited, who claimed to be “major investors” in Etisalat Nigeria, which was renamed 9mobile after the company’s Abu Dhabi-based investors – Etisalat Group – exited the Nigerian telco last year, complained of being left out in the firm’s decision making and are demanding a refund of their investment in 9mobile to the tune of $43,330,950.

The suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018 has Karlington Telecommunications Ltd, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria, Etisalat International Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as defendants.

Ruling on the ex parte moved by plaintiffs’ lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), the court held that “an order is made for the maintenance of status quo as at today”.

Justice Nyako, however, added that the defendants ought to be heard and consequently ordered the service of processes on the defendants, including the 3rd and 5th (First Bank and 9mobile/Etisalat), whose addresses are outside the jurisdiction of the court.
The court in addition ordered that “the writ be marked as concurrent” and adjourned to May 14 for mention.

In a statement of claims, the plaintiffs said that they bought shares in Etisalat from the 1st and 2nd defendants (Karlington Ltd and Premium Holdings) through a private placement memorandum in which the 3rd defendant (First Bank) served as the custodian of the plaintiffs’ share certificates.

According to them, the 1st plaintiff (Afdin Ventures) bought 1,300,391 Class A Shares at $13,003,910, which it paid for on August 14, 2009; the 2nd plaintiff (Dirbia Ltd) acquired 3,300,004 Class A Shares at $30,030,040, for which it made payment on September 3, 2009.

The plaintiffs said they paid for the shares through the 1st and 2nd defendants’ First Bank accounts.

In a supporting affidavit, the general manager of the 1st plaintiff and a director in the 2nd plaintiff, Sani Ibrahim, claimed that the problem with 9mobile resulted from the mismanagement of its funds.

He said the plaintiffs’ grouse arose from not only the firm’s mismanagement, but its inability to declare dividends from 2009 to date and the attempt by the defendants to sell the company  privately to the detriment of the plaintiffs.

Ibrahim stated that in 2015, the 1st, 2nd and 5th defendants took several loans from 13 Nigerian banks with a view to expanding and boosting their telecoms business, but the money was not properly utilised, leading to heavy indebtedness by 1st, 2nd and 5th defendants.

He added that owing to the resultant indebtedness, the 1st and 2nd defendants rebranded the 5th defendant (Etisalat) and changed its name to 9mobile with a view to selling it off and obtaining money to pay its numerous debts.

According to Ibrahim, “The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants have failed to declare dividends on the shares of the plaintiffs since 2009 till date.

“The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants have completed arrangement to sell the rebranded 9mobile to Smile.Com and Glo Network, among others, without the knowledge of the plaintiffs, who are its major investors.

“If not restrained, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants will sell Etisalat Nigeria (also known as 9mobile) and disappear with the plaintiffs’ investment.”

The plaintiffs want the court to, among others, declare that the planned sale of 9mobile without paying the plaintiffs the money that they invested in the telecoms firm is unlawful.

They also urged the court to order the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants to refund to the plaintiffs the sum of $43,330,950 with which they bought 4,303,395 shares at $10 per share.

The plaintiffs equally prayed the court to award N1 billion in general damages against the defendants and in their favour.

Naija News in earlier reports brought to your attention that the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), had insisted 9mobile would not be sold to any company without technical competence.

Source: Naija News

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Multiple Oando Shareholders Challenge SEC As Court Restrains Commission From Carrying Out Actions Against Firm

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was slammed another lawsuit by displeased shareholders of Oando PLC. The shareholders filed for an interim order restraining SEC, its agents or representatives from acting on its May 31, 2019, letter sanctioning the Management of Oando. The order was granted and present in court were lawyers for both SEC (Usman Umar Fari Esq) and the shareholders.

The order restrains the SEC, its agents or anyone acting on behalf of the commission from disturbing or meddling with the affairs, management and activities of Oando PLC. It also restrains the SEC’s purported interim Management from meddling in the administration and activities of the company as well as an order restraining SEC from interfering with the shareholder’s exercise and performance of their statutory powers and duties as shareholders.

This is the second case in a matter of days against the SEC. The first saw a ruling in favour of an Oando shareholder Engr. Patrick Ajidua. He had challenged the regulator in a suit filed at the High Court of the FCT. He had challenged the SECs right to prevent the convening of an Annual General Meeting as a breach of his right to freedom of association.

In a hearing presided by Honorable Justice O. A Musa, all cases filed were granted in favour of Engr. Patrick. In summary, the judge declared that the May 31, 2019 letter of SEC to Oando sanctioning its management, as unconstitutional, null and void and violation of Engr. Patrick’s fundamental right to a fair hearing and his human right to receive information on the affairs of Oando and his interest and shares in Oando and more importantly directed that within 90 days of the ruling Oando must convene an AGM for her shareholders.

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We Banned Cryptocurrency In Nigerians’ Best Interest – Emefiele

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, says the apex bank banned cryptocurrency in the interest of Nigerian depositors and the country’s financial system.

Emefiele made this known while briefing a joint Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions; ICT and Cybercrime; and Capital Market on Tuesday.

The CBN governor described the operations of cryptocurrency as dark, dangerous, and opaque, saying the use of cryptocurrency contravened the CBN Act of 2007.

He added that the fact that cryptocurrencies were issued by unregulated and unlicensed entities, made it contrary to the rules and regulations of the apex bank.

Emefiele noted that the secrecy behind cryptocurrency makes it suitable to use for those involved in illegal activities such as money laundering, terrorism financing, purchase of small arms and light weapons and tax evasion.

He said: “Cryptocurrency is not legitimate money because it is not created or backed by any Central Bank.

“Cryptocurrency has no place in our monetary system at this time and cryptocurrency transactions should not be carried out through the Nigerian banking system.”

According to the CBN boss, the ban of Cryptocurrency will not in any way, shape, or form affect the development of FinTech or a technology-driven payment system.

He noted that the Nigerian payment system had evolved significantly over the past decade, surpassing those of many of its counterparts in emerging, frontier, and advanced economies boosted by reforms driven by the CBN.

While urging that the issue of cryptocurrency be treated with caution, the CBN Governor assured that the Bank would continue its surveillance and deeper understanding of the digital space.

Emefiele stressed that the ultimate goal of the CBN was to do all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians on emerging financial risks and protect the financial system from the activities of currency speculators, money launderers, and international fraudsters.

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Nigeria’s Economy Unexpectedly Exit Recession

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Nigeria’s economy unexpectedly exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2020.

In a statement on Thursday, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the economy grew by 0.11 percent.

The development comes after two consecutive quarters of negative growth which resulted in a recession.

Nigeria’s economy beat projections from the IMF and the World Bank, both of which predicted Africa’s biggest economy to exit recession in 2021.

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