There are more troubles for the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido, as three shareholders of the defunct Intercontinental Bank have dragged him before a Federal High Court alleging wrongdoing in the way the bank was sold.
The shareholders: Abdullahi Sani, Adaeze Onwuegbusi and Chijioke Ezeipke through their lawyers, Chief Chris Uche (SAN) are demanding the sum of N10 billion as special and general damages against Sanusi for breaches culminating in the wrongful take over of Intercontinental Bank Plc by Access Bank.
Also joined in the suit are the CBN and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as 2nd and 3rd defendants respectively.
The plaintiffs also want the court to order CBN to immediately recover the sum of N25.1 billion together with interest still being owed by the trio of Mr. Aig-Aigboje Imokhuede, Mr. Herbert Wigwe and Senator Bukola Saraki.
When the matter came up yesterday, the plaintiffs counsel, Uche prayed the court for leave to serve Sanusi through a substituted means on the grounds that his present place of abode after his suspension was not known.
Uche further prayed the court to serve the application on Sanusi through his last office address at the CBN and that the application should be pasted on the notice board or be given to an adult in the bank.
In his short ruling, the trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed granted the plaintiffs prayer and ordered that the court process be served on Sanusi through his last office address at the CBN.
He later adjourned till May 14 for hearing.
In their originating summons, the plaintiffs are praying for an order of the court that the take over of Intercontinental Bank by Access Bank on the scheme, direction and instruction of Sanusi without lawful justification whatsoever is null and void.
They said Sanusi took the action in a bid to confer corrupt advantage upon himself and his friends/associates/cronies to the investment detriment of the plaintiffs and infringement of their personal rights.
The plaintiffs also want the court to mandate SEC as the official and apex regulator of the Nigerian Capital Market acting under her power pursuant to Section 13 of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 to conduct detailed public investigation into the circumstances relating to and connected with the sales of the shares, assets and securities of Intercontinental Bank to Access Bank.
This, the plaintiffs argued, would protect them as shareholders and investors of the said bank and maintenance of a fair and orderly securities market and protect the integrity of the securities market against all forms of abuse as occasioned by Sanusi and his friends.
The court was also asked to compel the CBN pursuant to Section 1 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 and pursuant to the plaintiffs request, to make available to the plaintiffs all information and all documentation and all records in its possession and custody relating to and concerning all the stages and steps taken by the CBN, including all the records, shareholdings, or equities of all persons involved, in the transactions culminating in the take over of the bank.
They also sought for the records of financial status of Intercontinental Bank as at July 31, 2009.
The plaintiffs had among others, asked the court to determine whether Sanusi while acting as the Governor of CBN did not act fraudulently in breach of his public office against the public interest and contrary to Sections 12,32,35 and 39 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), Cap B4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 in deliberately strangulating the banking operations and falsifying the actual financial state of affairs of Intercontinental Bank as a ground for revoking its operating licence.
They also ask the court to determine whether Sanusi, acting as the Governor of the CBN, did not act fraudulently in selling Intercontinental Bank to Access Bank, notwithstanding that the facilitator of the said sale transaction, Saraki was also indebted to Intercontinental Bank to the tune of N8.9 billion through his companies, Limkers, Dicetrade, Skyview Properties and Joy Petroleum.
The plaintiffs also want the court to determine whether Sanusi acted right in waiving the sum of N16.2 billion owed by Aig-Aigboje Imokhuede and Herbert Wigwe, the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of Access Bank and the sum of N8.9 billion owed by Saraki in a bid to enable Access Bank to fraudulently purchase Intercontinental Bank at a ridiculous sum of N50 billion only when the quarterly profit of the said bank was more than N50 billion.
They also want the court to determine whether Sanusi ‘s act of appointing Mahmoud Lai Alabi, an agent of Saraki as Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank to superintend the eventual sales of the bank was not fraudulent.