By Obas Esiedesa, ABUJA
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a case instituted by Oando Plc and three of its directors against the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, for lack of jurisdiction.
Oando Plc and three of its directors namely, Adewale Tinubu, Omamofe Boyo and Olufemi Adeyemo had instituted these cases against the SEC in view of the enforcement action taken against the company and the affected directors in its letter dated May 31 2019, for their violation of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance, the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations.
Oando Plc and the three directors had prayed the court to hold that their fundamental human rights were violated because according to them, the SEC did not give them a fair hearing in investigating some petitions received by the SEC in 2017 from some shareholders of Oando Plc
In a judgment delivered on Thursday, Hon. Justice F.O.G. Ogunbanjo struck out three cases and ruled that the Federal High Court cannot assume jurisdiction to entertain a matter where the subject matter falls outside its jurisdiction under the guise of enforcing fundamental human rights.
The court further held that the Federal High Court lacks jurisdiction to entertain matters arising from the Nigerian Capital Market.
SEC had on May 31, 2019, disclosed that it has concluded an investigation of Oando Plc and directed among others the resignation of the affected Board members, and also barred the Group Chief Executive Officer, Adewale Tinubu and the Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer, Omamofe Boyo from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.
The SEC also directed the convening of an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019, to appoint new directors.
These among others the SEC stated, were part of measures to address identified violations in the company.
The SEC stated then, “Following the receipt of two petitions by the Commission in 2017, investigations were conducted into the activities of Oando Plc (a company listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges).
“Certain infractions of Securities and other relevant laws were observed. The Commission further engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.
“The general public is hereby notified of the conclusion of the investigations of Oando Plc. The findings from the report revealed serious infractions such as false disclosures, market abuses, misstatements in financial statements, internal control failures, and corporate governance lapses stemming from poor board oversight, irregular approval of directors’ remuneration, unjustified disbursements to directors and management of the company, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, amongst others”.
The Commission also directed the payment of monetary penalties by the company and affected individuals and directors, and refund of improperly disbursed remuneration by the affected Board members to the company.