Appeal Court reserves judgment in suit challenging sale of Intercontinental Bank

Erastus Akingbola

The Court of Appeal, Lagos, on Tuesday reserved judgement in an appeal by former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, challenging revocation of the bank’s license by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Mr. Akingbola is asking the appellate court to set aside the earlier ruling of a Federal High Court, which dismissed his suit, challenging the planned sale of Intercontinental Bank to Access Bank.

He wants the appellate court to restrain CBN from withdrawing InterContinental’s inter-bank guaranty, pending the determination of the appeal.

Justice Okechuwku Okeke of the lower court had dismissed a suit by Mr. Akingbola and a former executive director of Intercontinental Bank, Bayo Dada.

The suit was challenging a Memorandum of Understanding for business combination signed by their former bank and Access Bank.

Dissatisfied, Messrs. Akingbola and Dada appealed and insisted that CBN was wrong to have masterminded the signing of the said MoU without recourse to them as shareholders and former directors.

Arguing the appeal on Tuesday, counsel to Mr. Akingbola, Onyebuchi Aniakor, urged the appellate court to allow the appeal and set aside the judgement of the lower court.

The appellants in their amended Notice of Appeal contended that the lower court erred in law when it adjudged the suit as an abuse of court process.

The appellants insisted that Justice Okeke made fundamental error in concluding that the letter in which Mr. Dada was removed as director, was not tendered, adding that the action occasioned substantial prejudice to them.

He urged the court to hold that given the provision of section 36 of the 1999 constitution, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria or any other body cannot validly direct the appellants to cease to serve as directors of the bank.

The appellants urged the court to order the respondents jointly and severally to render account of their dealings in the affairs of the Bank.

They also urged the court to nullify all steps, decisions taken by the respondents in the affairs of the bank from August 14, 2009 till date.

After listening to parties in the matter, the 3-member panel, led by Justice Mohammed Lawal Garuba, reserved its judgement.

The lower court had held that the suit was an abuse of court process, as there was a similar suit by other interested parties on the same subject matter.

The lower court also held that the suit was status barred, as the suit was challenging an action carried out as far back as August 14, 2009, when Mr. Sanusi removed some bank chiefs.

Meanwhile, the appellate court has reserved judgment till a date that will be communicated to parties.


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