- Category: Society
- Published on Thursday, 14 April 2011 06:24
- Written by Nigerian Compass
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The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) said it did not authorise the transaction.
The building, located at the highbrow Lagos Business District, Marina, formerly served as NITEL’s head office. It was razed by fire in 1983 and re-opened in 2004 after rehabilitation.
BPE, the agency responsible for the privatisation of government companies, also claimed that it was not aware of where the N4 billion proceed of the purported sale of the tallest building in the country was paid.
The Director-General of BPE, Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa, told the Nigerian Compass yesterday that her agency was the only institution that could authorise the sale of the building, but that it never at any time gave such an order.
She said the report of a management team set up to investigate the deal would unravel who authorised the sale and where the proceed of the transaction was paid.
NITEL board had earlier dragged WAAP to court for trespass when the latter made several attempts to recover the property.
While NITEL applied to the court for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the company from carrying out further threats against NITEL, WAAP had filed a counter affidavit claiming that it’s purchase of NECOM House followed due process.
Specifically, WAAP claimed that the sale of NECOM House was advertised by the liquidator in the Punch Newspapers of May 2, 2007 based on which it bidded and purchased the property from the liquidator, who assigned the property to them vide a Deed of Assignment dated April 3, 2009, and that although it purchased the whole property comprising of the high-rise of 37 floors, five old building annex and powerhouse, the five-storey old building annex was left for NITEL to occupy, due to the sensitive nature of SAT-3.
It stated that it was willing to allow NITEL to continue to use the building, provided NITEL was ready to pay rent on the property.
But in a recent statement from NITEl made available to the Nigerian Compass, the board said it had been informed that West African Aluminium Products Plc, the purported buyer of the property had continued to issue and execute unwarranted threats to prevent NITEL staff access to NECOM from the building.
The judge granted an interim order to the Union Bank of Nigeria Pensioners Association after listening to its counsel, Femi Falana, who argued the ex-parte application to stop the take-over of one of the oldest commercial banks in the country.
The motion ex-parte was supported by a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Olalekan Oganla, who among others, averred that the plaintiff is a share holders and a member of the defendant having 1,200,000 units of its shares.
Oganla averred that the defendant had concluded arrangement to invite Messrs African Capital Alliance Consortium to invest the sum of $750 million in the defendant’s without first offering it to the plaintiff and other shareholders.
The deponent further averred that it had forwarded a letter to the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamidio Sanusi, demanding for clarification on the issue of recapitalisation.
The CBN, however, in a letter dated October 7, 2010, denied any involvement in the recapitalisation of banks including the defendant and further stated that it is an exclusive matter for the bank’s board and share holders.
According to the deponent, the memorandum and article of association of the defendant expressly stipulates the manner in which its share capital may be altered.
He said: “Surprisingly, on March, 24, 2011, the defendant yet published another press statement in various national dailies signifying its readiness to invite Messrs African Capital Alliance Consortium to invest the sum of $750 million in the defendant without first offering it to the plaintiff and other shareholders.
“As a shareholder, the plaintiff has a stake in the fortunes and future of the defendant, and any step taken by the defendant without the consent of the plaintiff will affect its interest.”
While arguing the motion, Falana urged the court to restrain the defendant from going ahead with its intention to invite Messrs African Capital Alliance Consortium to invest $750 million which would make it the new core investor in the bank.
Falana also argued that the defendant had failed to comply with the extant provisions of its Memorandum and Article of Association which clearly stipulated the process and procedure under which third party investors could be invited to come and invest in the bank.
Specifically, he submitted that the plaintiff as of right, ought to have been notified and invited to come and invest in the defendant as stipulated in its Memorandum and Article of Association before any third party could be offered such opportunity to come and invest in the defendant.
He contended that it was only when and if the plaintiff and other existing shareholders waive their rights to invest that such opportunity could be extended to a third party.
Arguing further, the plaintiff counsel, drew the attention of the court to the defendant’s last annual general meeting held in December in Maiduguri, where the issue of recapitalisation was never brought to the attention of the shareholders contrary to the provisions of its Memorandum and Article of Association.
The matter was adjourned till May 6 for hearing of the substantive matter.