Appeal Court Suspends Enforcement Of Interim Orders Suspending Seplat CEO, Others

The ex parte application to halt the implementation of the interim court orders against Seplat Energy Plc and its management was approved by the Court of Appeal in Abuja.

The Federal High Court’s Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the temporary injunction on May 11 in response to a petition, the third of its kind submitted by the company’s minority owners between March and April 2023.

The interim orders primarily prohibited the Board Chairman, Mr. Basil Omiyi, the Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Roger Brown, the Chief Operating Officer, and the Company Secretary from acting as officers of Seplat Energy in any capacity or managing the affairs of the company in any other way.

Additionally, the lower court mandated that 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 the ruling, Seplat Energy, through its lawyers, on May 15, 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 employ of Wole Olanipekun & Co, stated that out of 588,444,561 issued shares of the appellant/applicant, the plaintiffs at the lower court had cumulative shares of 131 units.

He noted that the 1st plaintiff had 100 units of shares whilst the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs had 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”.

He added, “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. 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, a panel at the appellate court comprising Justice Muhammad Mustapha, Justice James Abundaga, and Justice Danlami Senchi, suspended the enforcement of the ex parte orders granted by Justice Inyang Ekwo, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated May 12, 2023 and/or pending further directives of the court.