Appeal Court Freezes Exparte Order Suspending Seplat CEO, Others

Mr. Brown, Seplat’s CEO

The Abuja division of Appeal Court, today, granted an ex-parte application filed by Seplat Energy seeking to suspend the ruling of Justice Inyang Ekwo of an Abuja division of the Federal High Court, which suspended the company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mr. Roger Brown and other. 

Justice Ekwo, in suit numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/626/2023, had made an ex-parte order, suspended the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Brown, and company’s Board Chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice for Interlocutory Injunction filed by some aggrieved shareholders of the company.

The lower court also ordered the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to immediately appoint suitable persons to run the affairs of the company, pending the determination of the Motion on Notice filed by the applicants.

Dissatisfied with Justice Emwo’s ruling, Seplat Energy on May 15, 2023 by its team of lawyers led my Mr. D. D. Dodo, (SAN); Bode Olanipekun (SAN) and Audu Anuga (SAN) urged the Appellate court to suspend the interim Ex-parte orders.

The Appellant in its further affidavit In Support of the Motion to stay execution of the orders, deposed to by Adoga Moses, a Litigation Clerk, in the employment of Wole Olanipekun & Co, stated that out of 588, 444, 561 issued shares of the appellant/applicant, the plaintiffs at the lower court have cumulative shares of 131 units.

He noted that the first plaintiff has 100 units of shares whilst the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs have 31 and 30 units respectively.

According to the deponent ‘’the cumulative percentage shareholding of the plaintiffs who have obtained disruptive orders against the applicant amounts to 0.00002736 percent.

‘’The action of the plaintiffs and the orders granted by the lower court have the implication of diminishing the share value of the applicant, who has dual listings on the Nigerian and London Stock exchanges as well as cause panic in the capital market and reduce investor confidence. Even before the orders of the lower court were served, same had been given wide publicity across various news outlets. Now shown to me, attached hereto and marked as Exhibits 10, 11 and 12 are copies of news reports with global reach relating to the orders of ex parte injunction granted by the lower court.

‘’The applicant is at the risk of irreparable damage to its brand, business, investor equity, contractual and statutory obligations if the orders sought are not granted.

‘’It is in the interest of justice to grant this application and the balance of convenience tilts in favour of the applicant”.

Ruling on the application the Appellate Court comprising of Justices Muhammad Mustapha, (Presided), Justice J. G. Abundaga, and Justice D. Z. Senchi, suspended the enforcement of the Ex-parte orders granted by the Justice Ekwo, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated May 12, 2023 and or pending further directives of the court.

The Court has consequently adjourned the matter to May 30, 2023 for hearing of the Seplat Energy’s Motion on Notice.