A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has struck out a case filed by Oando PLC against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking to stop SEC from conducting a forensic audit on the company and also lift a technical suspension placed on its shares.
The presiding judge, Mohammed Aikawa, on Thursday struck out the case on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter. He advised Oando to take its case to the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST).
The ruling was consequent to a preliminary objection filed by counsel to SEC, George Uwechue, SAN.
In his ruling, the judge said, “I hold that the subject matter of this issue falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) and not this court.”
“In addressing this issue, I find the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007 quite instructive.
Section 284 of the ISA (2007) says the Tribunal shall, to the exclusion of any other court of law or body in Nigeria, exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question of law or dispute involving- (a) a decision or determination of the Commission in the operation and application of this Act, and in particular, relating to any dispute- (i) between capital market operators; (ii) between capital market operators and their clients; (iii) between an investor and a securities exchange or capital trade point or clearing and settlement agency; (iv) between capital market operators and self regulatory organisation; (b) the Commission and self regulatory organisation; (c) a capital market operator and the Commission; (d) an investor and the Commission; (e) an issuer of securities and the Commission; and Jurisdiction of the Tribunal, etc. 132 (f) disputes arising from the administration, management and operation of collective investment schemes.
“It is not in dispute that the matter before me is a dispute between capital market operators.”
According to the judge, “the duty of the court is to apply the law”.
“On this premise, I have no option than to uphold the preliminary objection. I also in the same vein uphold the preliminary objection of the 2nd defendant (Nigerian Stock Exchange). This court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute between both parties.
“The proper place for this matter to go is IST. I therefore strike out this matter,” the judge ruled.