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Airtel Share Crisis: Oba Otudeko Seeks $28.7m Damages



The Federal High Court in Lagos has adjourned hearing in a $28, 728, 125 suit filed by businessman, Oba Otudeko against a cellular mobile telecommunications company, Airtel Networks Limited (formerly known as Econet Wireless Nigeria Limited) till May 2, 2018.

Otudeko is jointly claiming the sum with a limited liability company, Broad Communication.

Joined as co -defendants in the suit are: a promoter of Econet, Jubril Adewale Tinubu, with 9,906250 shares being 9.9% voting capital, O&0 Networks limited, Delta ministry of Finance Incorporated, Delta State Government, Corporate Affairs Commission, Econet wireless Limited,Econet Development Corporation,Ecobank Nigeria limited, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

According to an amended statement of claim filed on behalf of Oba Otudeko and Broad Communications Limited by Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN), the plaintiffs alleged that sometime in 2011, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated acquired the defunct Oceanic bank Plc with all its liabilities and assets which at the time of acquisition included the 3rd defendant O&0 Network limited.

Prior to the acquisition of Oceanic bank the plaintiffs became aware that the 4th defendant,Delta State ministry of Finance incorporated and the 5th defendant Delta State Government purportedly transfer their beneficial ownership in the shares of the O&0 Network Limited back to 2nd defendant Jubril Adewale Tinubu who subsequently purported to transfer the shares to Oceanic bank Plc as part of a process of securitization and foreclosure arising from loans advanced to him by Oceanic bank.

The plaintiffs stated further that in the course of promoting Airtel,it was a fundamental term that in order to facilitate financing arrangements, Nigerian individual shareholders would take their shares in their own names or by the agency of their respective nominee vehicles, by this agreement Oba Otudeko was to hold directly or indirectly, 15% of the ordinary shares and Jubril Adewale Tinubu was to hold directly or indirectly about 10% of the ordinary shares of the company.

Further to the above arrangement and as preliminary step toward the acquisition of 40% equity stake in Airtel, Oba Otudeko and Adewale Tinubu through a special purpose corporate vehicle called First Independent Network limited FINL, executed a settlement agreement dated June 11, 2001,with Econet International Limited.

It was also selected fundamental term of the agreement that Nigerians would hold 40% of the ordinary shares and that Econet Wireless International EWI, being the original technical partner would hold 40%, while 20% was reserved for Transtel -a South African company.

Oba Otudeko took 13,035,936 shares in the name of Broad Communication and 187,500 in his own name while Adewale Tinubu took 9,906,250 shares in the name of Ocean &Oil services and later transferred same to O&0 Network.

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