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Supreme Court settles legal representation in N22.4b Nospecto funds in Central Bank

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Relief came the way of over 13,737 members of Nospecto Investors Forum as the Supreme Court resolved the legal representation that has delayed the matter for three years.
   
At the resumed proceedings on the matter, the five-man panel, which was presided over by Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour resolved the issue of legal representation, following the application filed by the counsel representing the appellant, Nospecto Oil and Gas, Abdulmumuni Bamidele.
   
Bamidele who notified the court of his motion dated February 5, 2018 asked the court to intervene in the issue of legal representation.
   
“I want an order directing Debo Adeleke and Rowland Otaru (SAN) to be bound over the issue of legal representation because this is the third year we have been coming and going back on the issue of legal representation. We don’t want the problem to continue,” he submitted.
   
Earlier when counsel were announcing their appearance, Mr. Adeleke told the court he appeared for 1st, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and the 14th respondents in a representative capacity of 13, 737 investors.
   
Otaru who has always told court that he represented four respondents in capacity of other members of investor forum announced his appearance for only four investors, namely; Kenny Badejo Rowland (2nd), Victoria Omotunde George (3rd), George Ushei (5th) and John Igho (6th) respondents.
   
The apex court then asked Adeleke for proof to show that he represented the 13,737 respondents. He responded that he had it in the processes filed before the court.Adeleke said: “We have stated it there on page two of our motion dated November 20, 2017 and filed on December 11, 2017. The motion goes to the root of this matter.”
   
The court therefore affirmed that Mr Otaru would be limited to the four people he said he is appearing for. “It is clear that on February 12, 2018 he (Otaru) is appearing for four people,” the court held.The apex court therefore struck out applications on legal representation filed by counsel to parties.
     
In 2008, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had secured two Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) judgments against the oil company (Nospecto) categorized as ‘Wonder Bank’, for ‘operating illegally and for engaging in collective financial scheme without SEC approval.    

Following the development, the 13, 741 investors filed a matter before the tribunal in 2010 against the company through their counsel, Mr Adeleke, with the aim of securing the release of their fund with CBN, which had been confiscated from Nospecto by SEC on behalf of the investors.

The matter, which took just eight months to be decided by the tribunal, went in favour of the investors, prompting the company to file appeal at the Court of Appeal and then the Supreme Court.


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