15th April, 2011
An investment and security tribunal sitting in Lagos,Â yesterday threw out a counter-application filed by NOSPETCO Oil & Gas seeking the leave of the tribunal to dismiss the petition filed by Prince Matiluko Emmanuel Olorunnimbe and 13 others for lack of jurisdiction.
NOSPETCO Oil & Gas had filed a counter affidavit to stop the application brought by Olorunnimbe and 13 others who were praying the court to grant them leave as the representatives of all investors in the oil company.
The tribunal chairman, Salihu Usman, in his ruling said the two grounds upon which the counter applications were brought were baseless, adding that the tribunal has the locus standi to hear the petition.
NOSPETCO Oil & Gas had filed a six-paragraph counter application to challenge the one brought by Prince Matiluko Emmanuel Olorunnimbe and 13 others in which it was stated that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain their application.
The respondent-applicant (NOSPETCO Oil & Gas) argued that since the parties still had a similar matter pending at the appeal court, the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter. It also said the petition was an abuse of judicial process and as such, should be thrown out.
However, the applicant-respondents argued through their counsel, Barrister Debo Adeleke, that the two issues that the respondent-applicant raised lacked merit.
He said the applicant-respondent has locus standi to bring the application in a representative capacity, saying the important thing to consider is whether or not they deserved to be given returns on their investments on monthly bases.
Adeleke further argued that the right to representation of all other investors was based on common interest, common goal and common cause of action, arguing that contrary to the submission of the respondent-applicant, the transaction between the investors and NOSPETCO Oil & Gas is more than a simple agreement.
The tribunal ruled that the respondentâ€™s application for dismissal has failed. It said the issue involved in the case before the appellate court is different from the reliefs the applicants are seeking at the tribunal.
It was gathered that NOSPETCO Oil & Gas was operating ultra vires and illegally as they were found to be operating outside their objective clause by engaging in an investment scheme without registering with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
It was learnt that under the laws regulating the market investment scheme, the third respondent ought to have got clearance from SEC before engaging in such venture. That is why they were referred to as â€œwonder banks.â€
It is on the above premise that SEC got their account frozen in all the commercial banks in Nigeria and kept the proceeds with the Central Bank for and on behalf of the investors.