September 1, 2011
THE last may not have been heard of banks whose licences were revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which led to successor nationalised banks.
Reason: Afribank Plc, which under the licence revocation saga, transmuted to Mainstreet Bank Limited, has approached a Federal High Court, Lagos, seeking the nullification of the CBN and/or its governor’s action.
The bank, which now trades as MainStreet Bank, in an application by its counsel, Onyebuchi Aniakor, dated August 24, 2011, urged the court to vacate and reverse the August 5, 2011, order of the CBN and /its agents.
In the motion brought pursuant to section 6(6)(A) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, Order 26, Rule 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2009 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court, AfriBank, suing through Igbrude Moses Oke, Rasaq Olalekan Mumuni, Akinsanya Solomon Sunday, Suleiman Daudu Babatunde, Igba Sanmi Olatomide, urged the court to vacate and/or set side in their entirety any and all steps and /or action taken by the defendants, The Central Bank, its governor by themselves, their servants, officials, agents and/or privies in purporting to revoke and/or revoke and/or withdraw the operating banking license of the bank.
They plaintiffs also want the court to set aside all actions by the defendants, including and not limited to the interference with, take over and/or acquisition of business, assets and operations of the Bank and the purported steps and actions themselves on or about August 5, 2011 and subsequently during the pendency of its suit and in defiance of the solemn order of the court delivered on April 15, 2011 for being invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
Named as defendants in the motion are, the CBN, its governor, Nebolisa Arah, Nnamdi Anammah and Isacc Alofoje, Mrs. Joke Giwa, Stephen Adah, Osa Osunde, Chukwuemeka Okwuosa, David Lawuyi, Ashim Oyekn, Bala Zakariya, Rafai Muha-mmed and the Corporate Affairs Commission.
The motion supported by a 24-pragraph affidavit deposed to by one Nnamdi Okoroikre Williams, a litigation executive in the law firm of the counsel, was predicated on the eight (8) grounds.
Ground one of the motion was that the plaintiffs commenced its substantive suit pursuant to the requisite leave of the court vide their originating Summons dated November 12, 2009 for the several declarative and injunctive reliefs and damages as are endorsed on the body of the motion paper, and in particular for orders of perpetual injunction restraining the CBN and the CBN Governor or any one of then from any further interference and/or continuing to interfere in the affairs, business and operations of the Bank without full and necessary compliance with due process requirements and extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The plaintiffs in ground two averred that along with the said Originating Summons, the Plaintiffs equally filed a motion on Notice of the same date for Orders, inter alia of interlocutory injunction restraining the CBN and the CBN Governor by themselves, their servants and/or privies from howsoever continuing to interfere either directly or otherwise in the management, operations and/or affairs of the Bank pending the hearing and final determination of the suit.
Other grounds in which, the motion was predicted was
• That on April 15, 2011, the court delivered its ruling on the defendants’ respective Notices of Preliminary Objection filed in the suit and dismissed the same whilst assuming the jurisdiction to entertain the plaintiff’s claims in the suit and the suit itself and adjourned the same to June 9, 2011 for hearing on the Plaintiff’s said motion for orders, interlia of interlocutory injunction filed in the suit.
•That following upon the said Ruling of the court of the said April 25, 2011, the plaintiff promptly filed their written address dated May 13, 2011 in support of the originating summons in the suit and duly served the same on the defendants on the same date.
• That subsequent to the service of the Plaintiff’s said Written address in support of the Originating Summons filed in the suit on the defendants, the latter particularly, the CBN and the CBN Governor rather than respond to the same, instead waited until May 23, 2011 and June 3, 2011 respectively to purport to approach the court for the relief of an order staying further proceedings in the suit on the purported ground that they have appealed against the decision comprised in the said ruling of the court delivered on April 15, 2011.
• That on the said June 9, 2011, the court was constrained upon these defendants’ application to that effect to adjourn the said respective applications for stay to September 26, 2011 for hearing.
• That the plaintiffs were shocked to learn through the national news media late on Friday, August 5, 2011 that the CBN and/or the CBN governor on a purported claim to have revoked the operating banking license of the bank have had the latter’s assets, business and operations purportedly transferred to, taken over and/or acquired by some third parties with these defendants’ active support and approval.
• That the conduct of these defendants, particularly, the CBN and/or the CBN governor are calculated to over reach the plaintiffs’ suit and to subject the court to ridicule.
Hearing of the motion is expected for September 26, 2011.
Source: Guardian/BERTRAM NWANNEKANMA