Court sets aside NERC order removing IBEDC board members
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has set aside the order of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) removing the Tunde Ayeni-led Board of Directors of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC).
Justice Taiwo O. Taiwo, in his judgment delivered last Friday, agreed with the submissions of counsel to IBEDC and its directors, Muyiwa Balogun, that the appointment and removal of directors must be in accordance with the provisions of Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) and the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, 2005 (ESPRA).
The court specifically held that there was nothing in ESPRA, NERC’s enabling law that permits NERC to make the removal order.
NERC had on June 19, 2018, ordered IBEDC to commence the process of dissolution of its board within 21 days period, citing alleged delay in the repayment of some loans by IBEDC investors as reasons.
IBEDC directors, led by Tunde Ayeni, however, said that as of June 14, 2018, the company had paid its monthly commitment up to date.
In a bid to resolve the matter, the aggrieved directors took the NERC to court for its decision to suspend them.
The court in its judgment, therefore, pointed out that Section 18 of the Electricity Industry (Enforcement) Regulation 2014, which purports to give NERC the powers to remove directors was ultra vires, as it goes beyond the remit of ESPRA.
It consequently nullified Section 18 of the Regulation for being inconsistent with ESPRA, adding that the NERC cannot be an umpire in its own case, and any allegation of fraud must be adjudged, not by NERC, but by a competent court.
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