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9 Aug 2018

CBN, NCC Get Strong Warning Against 9Mobile Sale

Some aggrieved shareholders of Etisalat (now 9Mobile) have cautioned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others involved in an ongoing negotiation to sell the telecommunication firm not to proceed with the transaction in view of a pending case before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The shareholders – Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited – warned of the legal consequences to the CBN and others, should they proceed to conclude the sale of Etisalat despite a subsisting order of the court, halting further activities in relation to the sale of the telecommunication firm.

Afdin and Dirbia, promoted by businessman, Dahiru Barau Mangal, issued the warning yesterday in letters written by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN) to the six parties said to be involved in the transaction, who are also defendants in the pending case.

Those to whom the letter were addressed are: CBN, Etisalat International Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Karlington Telecommunications Limited, Premium Telecommunications Holdings NV and First Bank of Nigeria Plc.
Afdin and Dirbia said their letters were informed by recent media report, credited to one Boye Olusanya (CEO, 9mobile) to the effect that “9mobile’s board was pleased with the progress made thus far and expects the acquisition process to be concluded as soon as possible.”

Shortly after Afdin and Dirbia filed the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018, Justice Binta Nyako, on April 17 gave an order, directing “the maintenance of status quo as at today.”

In the suit, Afdin and Dirbia, who claimed to be major investors in the troubled telecommunication firm, said they were left out in the firm’s decision making and therefore want a refund of their invested funds estimated at $43,330,950.

Part of one of the letters by Magaji reads: “Recall that Hon. Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court No. 4, Abuja made an interim order in suit: FHC/ABJ/CR/288/2018, Afdin Ventures Ltd & 1 other v. Karington Telecommunications Ltd & 6 others, restraining your office andother defendants from selling Etisalat Nigeria Ltd (now 9mobile) pending the outcome of the suit.

“Upon service of the enrolled order on you, your office entered appearance and filed a statement of defence to the suit. Ogunmuyiwa Balogun, Esq made several appearances on behalf of your office in court.

“Unfortunately, despite being aware of the subsisting court order, your office and the other defendants herein went ahead and concluded plans to sell off Etisalat Nigeria Limited (now 9mobile) in fragrant disregard to the subsisting order of court.

“We have our clients’ further instructions to write and warn you of the consequences of disobeying lawful orders of court.

“You are implored to put a hold on the transfer of ownership of 9mobile to any other investor pening the determination of the suit, failing which we shall be compelled to issue and serve you with Forms 48 and 49 with a view to commencing contempt proceedings against you in accordance with our clients’ instruction.”

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