BGL: Protect N11b Investors’ Fund, SEC Tells Court | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


BGL: Protect N11b Investors’ Fund, SEC Tells Court

Posted: Aug 3, 2015 at 5:58 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan, Lagos


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, August 3, 2015, declined to discharge an interim order restraining the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from going ahead with the hearing of a petition before its Administrative Proceedings Committee against the BGL Group.

Justice Mohammed Idris had, on July 21, 2015, ordered parties to maintain the status quo ante bellum in respect of the issues that brought about the suit, pending further orders.

Subsequently, another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Saliu Saidu, issued an ex parte order restraining SEC from implementing a directive announcing the suspension of BGL Plc and its subsidiaries from all capital market activities.

On Monday, SEC’s lawyer, Oluwaseun Olusiyi, asked the court to discharge the interim order in the interest of the public.

Olusiyi stated that the matter billed to commence before the SEC’s APC was filed by the Rivers State Ministry of Finance and 31 others against BGL and others, and that about N11 billion of public fund was involved.

Olusiyi, who urged the court to protect the investors’ fund by discharging the interim order, noted that over 50 petitions were received by the commission against BGL and its subsidiaries.

She added that the Senate, at a point, intervened in the matter, and directed SEC to investigate the petitions against BGL.

However, the judge said there was no way he could discharge an order of court pursuant to an oral application. The matter was adjourned to August 13, 2015 for hearing of SEC’s preliminary objection to challenge the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.

In the objection, SEC is contending that by virtue of Sections 274, 284 and 289 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007, the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, being a dispute between a capital market operator and SEC.

SEC is further contending that the claim in the suit was based on speculations and presumptions, and the plaintiffs failed to raise any reasonable cause of action.

The plaintiffs in the suit are BGL Plc, BGL Asset Management Ltd, BGL Capital Ltd, Albert Okumagba, Chibundu Edozie, Teddy Okumakube and Loraine Awoonor-Renner.

Others are Ehime Evelyn Alofoje, Joseph Ashley-Osuzoka, Andre Ewubare, Victor Obire and Nkechi Azubuike.

The defendants are SEC, SEC’s APC and the Director-General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo.