Appeal Court grants Seplat request to stop execution of orders against Omiyi, Brown, other top officers
The Court of Appeal, Abuja has granted an ex parte application of Seplat Energy Plc seeking the suspension of the enforcement of the interim court orders restraining the Board Chairman, the named Non-Executive Directors, the Chief Operating Officer and the Company’s Secretary from operating or functioning as officers of the company in any capacity.
EnergyDay gathered that Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, had on May 11,2023, granted an interim orders on a petition which was the third of such filed by minority shareholders of the company between March and April 2023.
EnergyDay gathered that the interim orders by Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/626/2023 filed by Juliet Gbaka and two others restrained Mr. Basil Omiyi, Board Chairman, Mr. Roger Brown, Company’s Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Operating Officer and the Company Secretary from operating or functioning as officers of Seplat Energy in any capacity, or otherwise conducting the affairs of the company.
The lower court had following the interim orders, asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to immediately appoint suitable persons to run the affairs of the company, pending the determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicants.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Seplat Energy, through its lawyers, on May 15, urged the appellate court to suspend the interim ex parte orders.
The appellant in its further affidavit in support of the motion to stay execution of the orders deposed to by Adoga Moses, a litigation clerk in the employ of Wole Olanipekun & Co, stated that out of 588,444,561 issued shares of the appellant/applicant, the plaintiffs at the lower court had cumulative shares of 131 units.
Adoga said that the 1st plaintiff had 100 units of shares whilst the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs had 31 and 30 units, respectively.
He said, “The cumulative percentage shareholding of the plaintiffs who have obtained disruptive orders against the applicant amounts to 0.00002736 percent”.
“The action of the plaintiffs and the orders granted by the lower court have the implication of diminishing the share value of the applicant who has dual listings on the Nigerian and London stock exchanges as well as cause panic in the capital market and reduce investor confidence.
“Even before the orders of the lower court were served, same had been given wide publicity across various news outlets. The applicant is at the risk of irreparable damage to its brand, business, investor equity, contractual and statutory obligations if the orders sought are not granted.
“It is in the interest of justice to grant this application and the balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant,” the clerk prayed.
The appellate court panel comprising Justice Muhammad Mustapha, Justice James Abundaga, and Justice Danlami Senchi, while ruling on the application, suspended the enforcement of the ex parte orders granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated May 12, 2023, and/or pending further directives of the court.
The court adjourned the matter to May 30, 2023, for hearing of the motion on notice.