Court grants Oando leave to file judicial review against SEC

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Justice Ayokunle Faji, sitting at a Federal High Court in Lagos, last week, granted leave to Oando Plc to file a motion for a judicial review of the SEC’s decision imposing a fine of N89,675,000 on it. 

Justice Faji, granted “an order of certiorari bringing up to the Federal High Court for the purpose of being quashed, the decision of the first respondent (SEC) contained in its letter dated 31st May 2019”. 

SEC Acting Director-General Mary Uduk, SEC and Mutiu Sunmonu, who was appointed as Oando’s interim head, are the first to third respondents. 

 The court also granted an order of certiorari for the quashing of SEC’s directive to Oando to convene an extra-ordinary general meeting on or before July 1 to appoint new directors and articulate remedial measures for alleged corporate governance lapses.  

The court further granted an order of certiorari for the quashing of a press release by SEC on June 1 appointing an interim management team to be headed by Mr Mutiu Sunmonu (the third respondent) to oversee Oando’s affairs.

 The judge granted “an order of prohibition and/or an injunction restraining and preventing the first and second respondents by themselves, agents, servants or whomsoever, howsoever from enforcing or seeking to enforce the decision contained in the letter dated 31 May 2019.” 

Justice Faji also granted “an order of prohibition and/or an injunction restraining and preventing the second respondent from enforcing or seeking to enforce the decision of the first respondent contained in the press release made on Sunday, 2 June, 2019 appointing an interim management team to be headed by the third respondent to oversee the affairs of the applicant.” 

The court made “a declaration that the first and second respondents acted ultra vires and without jurisdiction in making the decision contained in the letter of 31 May 2019 which conveyed the imposition of a fine of N89,675,000 on the applicant…” Also granted was “an order directing that the leave sought herein if granted shall operate as a suspension and or stay of the decision of the first respondent contained aforesaid in its letter of 31 May 2019 as it relates to the applicant and as contained in the press release made on 2 June 2019 appointing an interim management team to be headed by the third respondent.”

Justice Faji directed Oando to ensure service on the respondents of the order and the application for judicial review within 48 hours.

He adjourned until July 22 for hearing of the application for judicial review before the vacation judge. SEC had on May 31 announced the conclusion of an investigation of Oando and ordered its Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Wale Tinubu, his deputy Mr Omamofe Boyo, and other affected board members to resign. It barred Tinubu and Boyo from being directors of public companies for a period of five years. 

SEC subsequently set up an interim management team headed by Sunmonu to oversee Oando’s affairs and to conduct an Extraordinary General Meeting on or before July 1. 

In an ex-parte application filed through their counsel, Olasupo Shasore (SAN), Tinubu and Ojo prayed for an order of certiorari to quash SEC’s purported imposition of N91,125,000 fine on Tinubu.

The application was granted. Oando, also through Shasore, filed the latest application seeking for judicial review of the SEC decisions against it with a view to quashing them, which Justice Faji granted.

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