Court to hear Seplat Energy’s suit against 2 audit officials July 4

A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed July 4 for hearing a suit filed by Seplat Energy Plc against two members of Statutory Audit Committee (STACO) of the company.
Justice Inyang Ekwo fixed the date on Thursday after plaintiff’s counsel, Emmanuel Agwungwu, notified the court that he received a response from the defendants on June 20 and would need time to respond.
The oil giant had, in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/627/2023 filed by Mathew Burkaa, SAN, sued Cheif Anthony Idigbe, SAN, the chairman of STACO, and Mr Sunday Nwosu, who is a member of the committee.
In the originating summons dated and filed on May 8, the company sought an order setting-aside all steps taken, all decisions and resolutions passed by Idigbe and Nwosu-led Statutory Audit Committee, whether by themselves or through the appointed 3rd party independent investigators for being invalid, null and void and not binding on the firm.
It also sought an order restraining the duo from “further entertaining or causing the investigation of any issue that is outside the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), 2020, and the Terms of Reference of the Statutory Audit Committee of Seplat Energy PLC, 2022 as provided by the CAMA,” among others.
In the affidavit attached to the motion, Bennett Ebikon, a staff in the law firm, deposed that the purpose of the committee as set out in Paragraph 1.1 of Exhibit was to “monitor the integrity of the financial statements of the company and any formal announcements relating to the company’s financial performance by reviewing significant financial reports and auditors.”
“That sometime in January 2023, a group that tag themselves Concerned Staff and Stakeholders of Seplat Energy Pic, through their counsel, Messers Hakeem Kareem & Co. cause a petition to the Federal Ministry of interior alleging Anti-Nigeria activities of Mr. Roger Brown, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat.
It said the petition dated Jan. 31 was attached as exhibit.
”On the strength of the above petition, there was withdrawal of Mr. Roger Brown’s Combined Expatriate Residence Permit (‘CERPAC’). ‘Visa, Residence Permit and all relevant documents,’ (the ‘Revocation’).
“There were also orders of the Federal High Court made on April 6, 2023, which essentially restrained Mr. Roger Brown from acting in the plaintiff as Chief Executive Officer and/or engaging in her day-to-day management.
“Following the above, the law firm of Messers. Hakeem Kareem & Co., caused a petition to the 1st defendant who is the Chairman of the Statutory Audit Committee, stating allegation of racism, discriminatory practices and anti-Nigeria activities against Mr. Roger Brown, the CEO of the plaintiff and deliration of duties by the Chairman and Independent Non-Executive Director (INED),” he said.
But in their counter affidavit, the 1st and 2nd defendants argued that on April 19, the committee duly convened its meeting and formed a quorum for a valid meeting of the committee in line with its terms of reference and provisions of CAMA.
They prayed the court to dismiss the application in the interest of justice.
Upon resumed hearing, Agwungwu said that the matter was slated for hearing of their motion.
“However, on 20th June, 2023, we received response to our processes from the defendants and we need time to respond to same,” he said.
Cosmas Enweleuzo, SAN, who appeared for the defendants, said a notice of preliminary objection and counter affidavit to the originating summons and counter affidavit to the motion for injunction had been filed.
Agwungwu: confirmed the receipt of the processes.
The lawyer said he would need seven days to respond.
“That means interlocutory applications have been overtaken by events and the substantive matter can be heard,”the judge said.
Justice Ekwo, who adjourned the matter until July 4 for hearing of the preliminary objection and the substantive matter, ordered parties to file all processes before the next adjourned date.
According to him, on the date fixed for hearing, the process of any party absent from court will be deemed as adopted.
“If for any reason, the matter cannot be heard on that day, the lawyer responsible shall be fined personally. That is the order of court,” he declared.

Related posts

Leave a Comment