BGL: SEC Urges Court To Protect Investors’ N11b | Independent Newspapers Limited
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BGL: SEC Urges Court To Protect Investors’ N11b

Posted: Aug 4, 2015 at 12:57 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

•  As Judge Declines To Discharge Interim Order

By Tunde Opeseitan, Lagos


A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday 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 (APC) against the BGL Group.

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

Another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Saliu Saidu, it would be recalled, had 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.

SEC had announced the suspension of BGL and its subsidiaries over alleged anti-market activities and fraud.

At the resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Idris on Monday, SEC’s lawyer, Oluwaseun Olusiyi had orally applied to 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 thirty-one 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 of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, at a point, intervened in the matter, and directed SEC to investigate the petitions against BGL.

But the judge, in response, said there was no way he could discharge an order of court pursuant to an oral application, and that since SEC did not file any application to that effect, discharging the order was not visible.

The court thereafter adjourned to August 13, 2015 for hearing of the preliminary objection filed by SEC 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 (ISA) Act, 2007, the Federal High Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the suit, being a dispute between a capital market operator and SEC.