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Court Bars SEC From Removing Tinubu, Oando Directors

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Temporary reprieve may have come the way of the embattled group chief executive officer of Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu as a Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday restrained the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from removing him.

 

The restraining order, which was granted by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun stopped SEC from imposing a fine on Tinubu and carrying out its decision to remove him and his deputy, Omamofe Boyo from being directors of public companies for five years.

 

After listening to an ex-parte application filed by Tinubu and Boyo through their lawyers, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Yele Delano (SAN) and Motunrayo Akinyemi, Justice Olatoregun ordered parties to maintain status quo pending the determination of the substantive suit.

 

LEADERSHIP recalls that SEC citing a report of an Investigative panel its set up to probe allegations of several infractions committed by the board of Oando, ordered Tinubu and other affected board members to resign.

 

SEC further prohibited Tinubu and Oando Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer Boyo from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.

 

The capital market regulator announced on Sunday that it had set up an interim management team headed by Mutiu Sunmonu to oversee the company’s affairs and to conduct an Extraordinary General Meeting on or before July 1 to appoint new directors to the board, who would subsequently select a management team.

 

In order to stop their removal, Tinubu and Boyo filed a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/910/19 to legal redress. In their ex-parte application, the applicants urged the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining SEC, its servants, agents, employees and/or privies from taking any step concerning or acting on its decision contained in its letter of 31st May 2019 imposing a fine of N91,125,000 on the first applicant and barring the first and second applicants from being directors of public companies for a period of five years pending the hearing and determination of the applicants’ motion for interlocutory injunction.”

 

They are also asking the court for “an order of interim injunction restraining the second respondent (Sunmonu) from acting as the head of the interim management of Oando Plc pending the hearing and determination of the motion for interlocutory injunction.”

 

The applicants’ sought an order staying or suspending the enforcement of SEC’s decision imposing fine on Tinubu and barring them from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.

 

Tinubu and Boyo further urged the court for an interim injunction restraining SEC or its agents from requesting any agency of government to act upon the decision contained in the May 31 letter pending the hearing and determination of their motion on notice.

 

The application was supported  by an affidavit deposed to by Boyo.

 

After listening to the lawyers, Justice Olatoregun held, “That an interim order of injunction is granted within the prayers sought.

 

“That parties are to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the motion on notice.

 

“That this order is to be served on the respondents along with the motion on notice as well as other processes.

 

“That an undertaking is to be filed indemnifying the respondents in case it later turns out that these orders ought not to have been made.

 

“That the case is adjourned to 14th of June 2019,” she held.

SEC on June 2, 2019 said that it had set up an interim management team to oversee the affairs of Oando Plc.

SEC said in a statement, “Further to our press release on Oando Plc, dated May 31, 2019, the commission hereby informs the public of the constitution of an interim management team headed by Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, to oversee the affairs of Oando Plc, and conduct an Extraordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019, to appoint new directors to the board of the company, who would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.

Also, On May 31, 2019, SEC announced the conclusion of the investigation of Oando and ordered the Group Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr Wale Tinubu, and other affected board members to resign.

The apex capital market regulator also said it barred Tinubu and Boyo, from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.

The commission said findings from the report revealed serious infractions such as false disclosures, market abuses, mis-statements 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, among others.”

Oando, however, said “The alleged infractions and penalties are unsubstantiated, ultra vires, invalid and calculated to prejudice the business of the company.”

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