Fresh crisis in 9Mobile as Court nullifies order approving its interim management

9mobile [Photo: TechCabal]

The Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, on Friday nullified the ex parte order approving the appointment of an interim board for Nigerian telecom operator, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Service, EMTS.

An ex parte order is an interim order often granted in the absence of the other party in a case.

EMTS, Nigeria’s fourth largest telecommunications service operator, runs 9Mobile which until last year was operated as Etisalat.

The nullification followed dismissal of the Preliminary Objection filed by United Capital Trustees Ltd in response to the application by Spectrum Wireless, a shareholder of EMTS. Spectum’s application was for a nullification of the ex parte order by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court.

Spectrum had claimed that the order was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that alienated its interests in the EMTS.

The interim board and executive management of the EMTS were constituted in June 2017 but the order approving its reconstitution was given in July.

Etisalat Group, which held 45 per cent of the shares in Etisalat Nigeria and 25 per cent of the preference shares, had earlier relinquished its stake in the Nigerian firm over $1.2 billion debt being owed 13 Nigerian banks.

Following intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Communications Commission, an interim board was constituted for the company after it announced a name change to 9Mobile.

In the new board, Boye Olusanya, former Deputy Managing Director of Celtel, was named its Managing Director/CEO while Joseph Nnanna, an economist and Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was named the chairman of its board.

The inauguration of the board came against the backdrop of meetings held by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the lending banks and Etisalat’s management.

The Interim Board of EMTS had recently received bids from about five bidders in its intended sale of the telecommunication company which was scheduled to be concluded by December 31, 2017, but was recently moved to January 16, 2018.

The court judgement is believed to constitute fresh hurdles to proposed plans put in place for the sale of the company.


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