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Lawyer asks court to nullify Union Bank’s acquisition

By Joseph Onyekwere
12 July 2022   |   2:24 am
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Charles Mekwunye (SAN), has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to nullify the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) approval of the acquisition of Union Bank...

Union bank

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Charles Mekwunye (SAN), has asked a Federal High Court, Lagos, to nullify the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) approval of the acquisition of Union Bank by Titan Trust Bank.

Mekwunye, through his team of lawyers, led by Mr A.M Makinde (SAN), had earlier sued Union Global Partners Ltd (1st defendant) and Atlas Mara Limited (2nd defendant) over the sale of their majority shares in Union Bank (4th defendant) to Titan Trust Bank (3rd defendant).

In the suit, Mekwunye, who is a shareholder in Union Bank, had contended that the sale of Union Bank to Titan Trust Bank by Union Global Partners and Atlas Mara Ltd did not follow extant laws regulating such transaction in Nigeria.

He also contended that Titan Trust Bank, which was granted banking license two years ago with two branches, has not broken even and does not have the financial capacity to acquire Union Bank.

According to court processes files for Mekwunye, the sale of the combined shares of Union Global Partners and Atlas Mara Ltd, in Union Bank was done by private treaty instead of being traded on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as required by law, thereby, making the transaction invalid and unlawful.

The CBN was joined in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/674/2022, as co-defendant and also serviced with the court processes and interlocutory injunction seeking stay of all actions on the transaction pending the determination of the suit.

But while the suit was still pending before the court, the CBN last month announced the official approval of Union Bank sales to Titan Trust Bank.

In a motion filed late last month, Mekwunye is now seeking a declaration that the CBN’s approval of the transaction is in flagrant disrespect to the authority, sanctity, dignity and powers of the Court and therefore unlawful, unconstitutional, null and void.

Mekwunye’s motion was brought pursuant to Order 35 Rules 1 & 2 of the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2019 and section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.

Other reliefs, which he is asking the court to grant, include “an order of Mandatory Injunction for a return to status quo by setting aside the approval of the Sale and Transfer of shares of the 4th defendant by the 1st and 2nd defendant to the 3rd defendant by the 5th defendant having been unlawfully approved in contempt of Court.

“An order of mandatory injunction nullifying all steps and/or measures taken by the defendants to consummate the transaction of transfer and sale and/or acquisition of shares of Union Bank by the 3rd defendant in flagrant disrespect to the Court.

“An order of mandatory injunction returning the parties to the status quo as at the first date CBN appeared in court through its counsel in response to the Originating Summons of May 24, 2022.

“An order that the CBN is in contempt of Court for approving the unlawful transaction resulting in the 3rd defendant’s acquisition of the 4th Defendant/Respondent as evidenced by the 4th defendant’s circular of June 2, 2022, in spite of the suit pending before the court, including the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction filed on May 11, 2022.”

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