Committal proceeding against DG SEC adjourned to Dec 15

By Emmanuel Kehinde, Ilorin

 Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) has fixed December 15, 2023, for hearing of the application filed by the Estate of Late Ambassador Abubakar Garba Gobir against the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for disobedience to a court order.

The Tribunal had in its judgment dated January 6, 2023, directed SEC to enforce its decision against FINMAL Finance and & Services Limited to pay the accrued dividends totaling N170,036,405.79 to the Estate of the late Gobir.

Despite a letter of reminder dated June 16, 2021, FINMAL has refused to comply with the directives, leading the Estate to approach the Investment and Securities Tribunal to seek redress.

The Estate met another brick wall because SEC has refused to comply with the judgment of the Tribunal. The Estate has now resorted to contempt proceedings against the DG SEC to compel him to comply with the terms of the judgment by enforcing its decision dated 9th February 2021.

The Gobir Estate instituted the suit marked no  IST/LA/OA/01/2022 and got judgment that was not complied with, consequently filed Form 48 and 49, which initiated Committal proceedings under Order IX Rules 13 of Sheriffs and Civil Process Act 2010.

The applicant is praying the Tribunal to compel the respondents: Greenwich Registrar & Data Solutions Limited, FINMAL Finance & Service  Limited, the Professional Stockbrokers Limited, and Securities & Exchange Commission to obey the order made by the Tribunal on January 6th, 2023

However, at the resumed proceeding, the applicant’s counsel, Mr. Ahmed Tafa told a panel of the Tribunal that he had served the respondents the form 48 and 49 committals proceeding application. For failure to obey the tribunal order.

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He noted that since January 6th, 2023 the respondents ought to have set the machinery in motion for enforcement of its decision but have failed to do so, hence the committal proceeding.

The counsel to the first respondent (Greenwich Registrar & Data Solutions Limited), Mr Abubakar Ibrahim, the third respondent (Professional Stockbrokers Limited), Mr. Abdulrahman Disu, and the fourth respondent (SEC), Mr. Momoh Ali announced their appearance while the second respondent ( FINMAL Finance & Service  Limited) has no legal representation.

In his response to Tafa’s submission, Disu told the Tribunal that his client had directed FINMAL to sell the shares in its possession to offset the judgment debt and promised to liaise with the applicant’s counsel to see how they could pay off the money.  “We are making an effort to see that we settle it. The process has started.”

On the other hand SEC counsel confirmed the service of committal proceeding applications to the DG.SEC and that though he had served his response to the application on the applicant, said he has filed and served a reply on point of law in opposing the committal proceedings.

Recalled that the late Ambassador Abubakar Garba Gobir had shares in various companies before his demise on November 27, 1996. Upon his demise, a letter of Administration was granted over his Estate by the Probate Registry Division of the High Court of Kwara State on August 6, 1997.

Subsequently, one of the heirs was appointed by the court to manage the Estate in the interest of other beneficiaries.

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The Estate discovered that there had been some underhand dealings with the shares belonging to the Estate, prompting a petition to the SEC.

The petition was investigated, and FINMAL Finance & Services Limited and Professional Stockbrokers Limited (her sub-broker) were found to have sold the shares belonging to the Estate on the instruction of some untraceable persons. The value of the shares sold and accrued dividends totaled N170,036,405.79.

Despite the directive of the SEC, the Managing Director of FINMAL, Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga who is now NGX group chairman, failed to buy back the shares and failed to pay the dividends to the estate. Alhaji Umaru Muttalab, is Chairman of FINMAL Finance & Services Limited.

However, after  listening to their submissions, the Tribunal said that they want justice to be served in the matter and subsequently adjourned to December 15, 2023, while hoping that before then SEC would have done the needful, otherwise the matter will proceed to hearing.

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