Shareholders sue CBN over plans to sell four banks


By Gowon Emakpe August 19, 2010 11:23PM


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, have been sued in a federal high Court in Abuja, over their much publicized plan to sell off the four troubled banks to new investors.


The shareholders of the banks have approached the court for an order of interlocutory injunction stopping Mr Sanusi and the central bank from carrying out the planned sale of the banks.The shareholders asked the court to prohibit the two defendants, their servants, agents and privies from inviting bidders to buy over the four banks pending the determination of the court action.


The four banks are Union bank plc, Oceanic Bank International plc, Intercontinental Bank plc and AfriBank plc.In the suit, filed by Nnodu Okeke, the shareholders operating under the Registered Trustees of the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, asked the Federal High Court to stop the CBN governor from making pronouncements on the sales bid and from making statements capable of prejudicing their suit.


The shareholders also claimed that, as the owners, they have a deep interest to protect in the four banks, and as such the two defendants be prevented from making any move or taking any action capable of jeopardizing their interests.


In a 28-paragraph affidavit in support of the suit, the aggrieved shareholders are asking the court to determine whether Sanusi and the Supreme Court have powers under the law to sell off the four banks in the way and manner they had planned.They also claimed that in spite of the court action and papers served on the CBN, the defendants had continued to make efforts to sell off the banks.


Nothing to lose

With several documents attached to buttress their claims, the shareholders stated that the bank sales, if allowed, would cause them irreparable losses in terms of their business and investments in the bank.


The affidavit, deposed to by one Ijeoma Nwankwo, a lawyer, claimed that the rights of the shareholders are in danger should the two defendants be allowed to frustrate their suit with the planned sales of the banks.


The plaintiffs claimed that Mr Sanusi and the CBN have nothing to lose if the interim order was granted and that they were ready to enter into an undertaking as to damages to be paid to the two defendants if their case was found to be frivolous in the end. The case has been adjourned to September 23 for hearing.






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