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Seplat Asks Appeal Court To Set Aside Interim Order For Lack Of Jurisdiction

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Indigenous oil and gas company, Seplat Energy Plc, has asked the Abuja division of Court of Appeal, to set aside the judgement of Justice I. E. Ekwo of the Federal High Court Abuja which granted an ex-parte interim orders against the company and some of its officers.

Justice Ekwo had in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/626/2023, instituted by Juliet Gbaka and two others against Seplat Energy Plc and 13 others, granted an Interim orders, restraining the Board Chairman, the named Independent Non-Executive Directors, the Chief Operating Officer and the Company Secretary from operating or functioning as officers of Seplat Energy in any capacity or otherwise conducting the affairs of the company.

However, Seplat in its Notice of Appeal filed at the registry of the Court is praying the Appellate Court to allow the appeal and set aside the decision of the lower court made on May 11, 2023.

The Appellant stated that the Lower Court erred in law and occasioned grave injustice against the Appellant when it made an Order on the 11th May, 2023 that affects the Appellant adversely despite the fact that the Court lacks jurisdiction and that the suit was an abuse of court process as there was a pending motion to that effect before the orders were granted.

Seplat stated that a petition filedearlier petition in suit No-FHC/ABJ/PET/8/2023 is pending before the same Judge and his Lordship had already refused to grant the same Ex-parte orders in that suit which have now been subsequently granted in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/626/2023. The facts of suit number FHC/ABJ/PET/8/2023, had been brought to the attention of the court.

The appellant stated that in a Motion on Notice dated May 10, 2023, it challenged the jurisdiction of the court, and that the lower court had a duty to first determine the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court in one way or the other.

According Seplat’s External Counsel, Mr. Bode Olanipekun (SAN), the interim orders were obtained by three shareholders who cumulatively have about 161 shares (about 0.00027%) out of over 500 million issued shares of the company.

He stated that before the interim orders were obtained, there was a pending motion on notice by which Seplat challenged the court jurisdiction.

Subsequent to the grant of the interim orders, Seplat filed an appeal. It’s Directors have also filed appeals and motions for stay of execution at the Federal High Court.

Olanipekun (SAN) noted that there are special procedures for the removal of directors of a company under CAMA and that is not the basis for the removal of Seplat’s directors in this instance.

He asked all parties to allow judicial process take its course.

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