The proposed sale of telecommunication firm, 9mobile, formerly Eitsalat, has suffered a setback as the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has restrained moves to sell the firm following a legal action instituted by angry shareholders of the company.
The plaintiffs, Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited, claiming to be major investors in Etisalat, in the suit before the court, said that they were not carried along in the firm’s decision making process.
They therefore prayed the court to mandate the firm to refund their invested funds estimated at $43,330,950.
Ruling on the matter on April 17, Justice Binta Nyako, ordered all the parties to maintain status quo, pending hearing and determination of the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018.
Defendants in the suit include Karlington Telecommunications Ltd, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Central Bank of Nigeria, Etisalat International Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
The presiding judge had after listening to an ex-parte motion the petitioners filed through their lawyer, Mr. Mahmud Magaji (SAN), for interim injunctions, ruled that the defendants ought to be heard.
The judge subsequently ordered the service of all the processes on the defendants, including the 3rd and 5th (First Bank and Etisalat), whose addresses are outside its jurisdiction.
Afterwards, Justice Nyako adjourned the matter till May 14 for mention.
Among other things, the plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that the planned sale of Etisalat to Smile.Com and Glo Network, without paying them the money with which they bought their shares, is unlawful.
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They further prayed the court to order the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th defendants to refund to them the total sum of $43,330,950 with which they bought their 4303395 shares at $10 per share.
They further asked the court to award N1 billion in general damages against the defendants and in their favour.
The plaintiffs, in a statement of claim they filed before the court, said they bought shares in Etisalat from the 1st and 2nd defendants (Karlington Ltd and Premium Holdings) through “a private placement memorandum in which the 3rd defendant (First Bank) served as a custodian of the plaintiffs’ share certificate.”
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