Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy, Roger Brown, pending the determination of motion on notice filed by three shareholders of the company.
The aggrieved shareholders, Juliet Gbaka, Margaret Funmilayo, and Clement Akaeme, had in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/626/23 sought an order compelling the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to appoint suitable persons to run the affairs of the company, among other demands.
Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the order while ruling on a motion ex-parte dated May 8, moved by the counsel for the plaintiffs, Abiodun Layonu.
The judge also suspended the Chairman of Seplat Board, Basil Omiyi, Emma Fitzgerald, Charles Okeahalam, Fabian Ajogwu, Rabiu Bello and Bashirat Odenewu, who are independent Non-Executive Directors in the company.
Others suspended were the Company Secretary, Edith Onwuchekwa, and the Chief Operating Officer, Samuel Ezeugwuorie.
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They were all listed as respondents in the suit.
SEC, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Datamax Registrars Limited, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) were also joined as respondents in the case.
In his ruling, Ekwo gave an order compelling the SEC to appoint suitable persons to run the affairs of the firm pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the shareholders.
He also restrained the defendants, their agents, and personal representatives from operating or functioning as officers of the oil firm under any guise, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed by the shareholders.
“An order is, hereby, made suspending the 2nd to 10th defendants as directing minds and secretary of the 1st defendant (Seplat), pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicants,” the judge said.
He adjourned the matter till 23 May.
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Meanwhile, in April, Justice Chukwuejekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos, had lifted an interim ex-parte order restraining Roger Brown, from parading himself as the firm’s CEO.
Justice Aneke struck out the order while ruling on applications filed by some aggrieved shareholders of the company against Brown over allegations of racism, favouring of expatriate workers, discrimination against Nigerians, and breach of good governance.
The applicants/petitioners in the suit are: Moses Igbrude, Sarat Kudaisi, Kenneth Nnabike, Ajani Abidoye, and Robert Ibekwe, while Seplat Energy PLC, Roger Brown, and Basil Omiyi were listed as respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/402/2023.
The court also dismissed an application filed by counsel to the petitioners to move his application for joinder.