BY innocent anaba
LAGOS — Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, has lodged an appeal before the Court of Appeal, Lagos, against the order of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which restrained it and the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, from suspending some former Council members of the NSE from capital market activities over an alleged N1.36 billion-shared bonus crises in the Exchange last year.
Trial judge at the lower court, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, had on February 4, 2011, restrained NSE, its Interim Administrator and President, Emmanuel Ikhazoboh and Balama Malu, the Security and SEC and its Director General, Arunma Oteh and their agents, from giving effect to the contents of some letters dated October 11 and 15, 2010 written by SEC and NSE, directing the Council members, who served between 2006 and 2008 to refund what was paid to them, which the agencies termed shared bonuses.
NSE’s interim Administrator, Ikhazoboh and the President, Balama Malu in appeal, are praying the appellate court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
They want the Court of Appeal to allow their appeal and set aside the orders of the lower court for want of jurisdiction as well as vacate same, contending that lower court judge erred in law when he assumed jurisdiction in the suit, when the suit relates to matters under the Investments and Securities Act, 2007, under which disputes are the exclusive preserve of the Investments and Securities Tribunal.
According to them, the suit is against the action taken by SEC, the regulator of the Capital market seeking to regulate the council of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, contending that the lower court judge erred in law when he made an order of injunction against the appellants without jurisdiction to hear the case.
They are further arguing that the lower court erred in law and seriously misdirected himself when he made orders relating to the appellants’ motion to convert the suit from a representative action to an action inter se dated November 5, 2010 without hearing it and that the judge also erred in law when he held that the representative action of the plaintiffs (respondents) was properly constituted in spite of the fact that a challenge had been made by the appellants on representative capacity of the named plaintiffs.
SEC also want the appellate court to stay of the execution of the order pending the determination of the appeal.
It will be recalled that the lower court had upheld all the submissions made by plaintiffs’ counsel, by holding that the plaintiffs effectively made out a case for the granting of their interlocutory prayers.