By Aanuoluwa Omotosho and Oluwatobi Opusunju
Nigerian regulatory authorities were left in the ditch yesterday after a court judgement halts the sale of 9Mobile to make the telco’s future dicey.
A court ruling at the weekend warned the public to desist from the intended sale or acquisition of 9Mobile. The injunction reads in part: “any institution or business who transacts business for the purpose of sale or acquisition of 9Mobile does so at his or her own risk”.
This effectively suspended the bid process that should have held yesterday.
Officials of the company are not talking to the media. But a senior official told IT Edge News in Lagos that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are making strong efforts to resolve the matter, get the disputing parties to a conciliatory table to allow the withdrawal of the case from the law court and then execute a sale that “would be fair to all parties.”
The court order nullifies the Interim Management Board of 9Mobile to make both the running of the company and its future uncertain.
The termination of the Ex-parte order is coming after Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd, which invested about $35 million in Etisalat; now 9Mobile in 2009 filed an application stating that the order was obtained by misrepresentation of facts that isolated its stake in the company.
There are various reports around the issue. One report claims that Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd which has about 17.5 per cent of the shares in EMTS is demanding for a return on its investment before the sale of 9Mobile can be concluded.
Another report claimed that Spectrum Wireless and three others after investing about $100 million in EMTS Ltd in 2009 for the expansion of the company’s infrastructure base no return on investment has been made to them so far.
The court, however, in pursuant to the grant of Spectrum Wireless Communication Ltd stated that “an order is hereby granted discharging the ex-parte order made by this court in this suit in favour of the respondent on July 3, 2017.
“The order made pursuant to motion ex-parte dated July 3, 2017 was a nullity, made without jurisdiction and obtained by misrepresentation of facts. Same be and is hereby discharged and vacated as prayed. The motion for stay is struck out having set aside the order. The respondent shall reverse all steps taken by it since the order was a nullity.”
The order nullifies the appointment of Dr Joseph Nnana of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Boye Olusanya, Mrs. Funke Ighodaro, Mr. Seyi Bickersthet and Mr. Ken Igbokwe as Security Trustees Nominee Directors on the board of EMTS Ltd/ 9Mobile.