…Technical suspension lifted
25 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Oando’s appeal to stop the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, from proceeding with the forensic audit of its account has been rejected by a Lagos Federal High Court.
Justice Mohammed Aikawa, who presided over court, struck out the case on the premise that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He advised Oando to take the case to the Investment and Securities Tribunal, IST.
Meanwhile, it lifted the technical suspension placed on the firm’s shares.
The court’s striking out of the case followed an earlier filing of a preliminary objection against Oando by the counsel to SEC, George Uwechue, SAN.
“I hold that the subject matter of this issue falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) and not this court.
“In addressing this issue, I find the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007 quite instructive”, the judge had said.
Section 284 of the ISA (2007) says the Tribunal shall, to the exclusion of any other court of law or body in Nigeria, exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question of law or dispute involving- (a) a decision or determination of the Commission in the operation and application of this Act, and in particular, relating to any dispute- (i) between capital market operators; (ii) between capital market operators and their clients; (iii) between an investor and a securities exchange or capital trade point or clearing and settlement agency; (iv) between capital market operators and self-regulatory organisation; (b) the Commission and self-regulatory organisation; (c) a capital market operator and the Commission; (d) an investor and the Commission; (e) an issuer of securities and the Commission; and Jurisdiction of the Tribunal, etc. 132 (f) disputes arising from the administration, management and operation of collective investment schemes.
“It is not in dispute that the matter before me is a dispute between capital market operators,” he said.
According to the judge, “the duty of the court is to apply the law”.
“On this premise, I have no option than to uphold the preliminary objection. I also in the same vein uphold the preliminary objection of the 2nd defendant (Nigerian Stock Exchange). This court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute between both parties.
“The proper place for this matter to go is IST. I therefore strike out this matter,” the judge ruled.
SEC had announced suspension of Oando’s shares to enable it carry out a forensic audit of the company’s account after two shareholders had petitioned.
This was followed by House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market issuing a directive to the regulator to investigate the grievances.
As a result, Oando’s shares was officially suspended by the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE in October, after which the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, JSE, where the firm’s shares are also listed, announced suspension.