N10bn Claim: Sanusi wants court to dismiss Intercontinental Bank shareholders’ suit

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Abuja – The Suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Lamido Sanusi, on Wednesday urged an Abuja Federal High Court to dismiss the suit by some shareholders of defunct Intercontinental Bank.

The plaintiffs, Abdullahi Sani, Adaeze Onwuegbusi and Chijioke Ezeikpe, urged the court to compel Sanusi to pay N10 billion damages for selling the bank to Access Bank.

The CBN and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) were joined as co-defendants.

At the hearing of Sanusi’s preliminary objection dated May 12 on Wednesday, his counsel Mr Sam Kargbo, asked the court to dismiss suit.

Kargbo said that the plaintiffs had no `locus standi` to institute the suit having failed to provide evidence of bad faith or fraud in actions he took while in office as CBN governor.

He argued that the suit was an abuse of court process because the merger of Access and Intercontinental Banks was a court ordered merger following shareholders’ approval.

“The said merger and takeover of the defunct Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank was done pursuant to a court ordered merger.

According to him, Sanusi’s role in the merger is restricted to ensuring the regulatory oversight functions of the CBN as he is not involved in the transactions that resulted in the merger.

“With the said merger, Intercontinental Bank has ceased to exist, therefore, it is in the interest of justice that this action be dismissed,’’ Kargbo said.

Similarly, the CBN, in its preliminary objection filed by its counsel, Kola Awodein urged the court to strike out the suit because the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain it.

Awodein, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) argued that plaintiffs alleged fraud and did not  provide the essential particulars of fraud.

He submitted that the suit did not disclose any cause of action against Sanusi

The Counsel to SEC, Mr Zakari Garba, however, told the court that his client was served with the objections on Wednesday and would need time to respond.

It would be recalled that the Counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr Chris Uche (SAN), had in his originating summons argued that Sanusi undervalued the bank to the detriment of the plaintiffs.

Uche, therefore, urged the court to declare the takeover of Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank under Sanusi’s instructions and supervision as “unlawful, fraudulent, illegal, null and void’’.

He also urged the court to order SEC to conduct a detailed investigation into the transaction to protect his clients’ interest and apply appropriate sanctions against parties in the alleged fraud.

Justice Ahmed Mohammed adjourned the case till July 16 to enable SEC who was served in court to respond. (NAN)

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