FRC APPEALS STANBIC IBTC COURT INJUNCTION

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The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria(FRC) has appealed against the ruling of a Federal High Court, Lagos barring it from interfering with the activities of Stanbic IBTC Holdings (SIBTCH) Plc.

The Court presided over by Honourable Justice Ibrahim Buba last Wednesday granted the prayers of the plaintiffs (SIBTCH) including an interlocutory injunction  restraining FRC and its officials from “interfering with or otherwise impending, obstructing, molesting,harassing or hindering” the plaintiffs’ operations.

 
SIBTCH suit arose out of the decision of the FRC to impose sanctions on SIBTCH for some misstatements contained in its 2013/2014 financial statements.

The FRC suspended the registration numbers of Atedo Peterside, the Chairman of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Sola David-Borha, the managing director of the bank as well as two other employees of the bank.
 
The Council also suspended the registration of Ayodele Othihinwa of KPMG Professional Services.
It also fined Stanbic IBTC while ordering the bank to withdraw and restate its financial statements.

In the FRC’s notice of appeal filed on Thursday by its counsel, Idowu Sofola & Co, the Council stated that the court erred in law by allowing the plaintiffs to amend their originating summons in such a way that introduced new matters, thereby breathing life into a dead issue.

The FRC therefore sought leave of the Appeal Court to set aside the ruling of the lower court in the suit filed  against it by SIBTCH.
 
The court ordered the FRC not to prevent the plaintiff or its subsidiaries “from carrying on with their lawful businesses.

”The court further restrained the council from inviting the bank’s board of directors to any meeting in connection with the defendant’s statutory investigation of the plaintiff’s statements.

The FRC faulted the ruling restraining it from holding meeting with the Board of Directors of SIBTCH arguing that “The date of the ‘agreed’ meeting conveyed in the letter of invitation and which was sent to the first Respondent for which they failed to attend had passed as at when the application for amendment was filed, which renders the matter to be no more than an academic exercise”, the FRC held while declaring that it is trite law that court should not engage in academic exercise nor exercise in futility.

The FRC also based its appeal on the fact that the ”Court wrongly laid too much emphasis on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) letter dated 2nd November, 2015 which was irrelevant to the application before the court.

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