Newswatch vs Newswatch: Jimoh Ibrahim loses Round 1

Posted by News Express | 1 February 2013 | 2,929 times

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Newswatch Communications core investor, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday failed in his bid to convince the Federal High Court, Lagos, to dismiss the suit filed against him and others by two minority shareholders, Messrs Jibril Aminu and Nuhu Wada Aruda.

As reported last Monday (Jan. 25) by News Express, Prof. Aminu and Alhaji Aruda had approached, praying it to revere the alleged fraudulent acquisition of Newswatch by Ibrahim and the way he is running it. Lamenting that their interest has been seriously injured, the two men sought, among others, to get the court to stop further publication of Newswatch newspaper by Newswatch Newspapers recently floated by Ibrahim.

When the case came up yesterday, Justice Ibrahim Buba ruled that the preliminary objection filed by Ibrahim and the other defendants was not only misconceived but also lacked merit.    
The defendants had argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit because there was a clause in the agreement between parties that any dispute on Newswatch should be handled by the Lagos High Court.

On that point, Justice Buba held that the provisions in the agreement between parties could not override the Constitutional provision which empowers the Federal High Court to adjudicate on disputes emanating from the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) as in the instant case.

The court equally rejected an argument by the defendants that the plaintiffs lacked the mandate to sue being minority shareholders and that it was only the directors that can sue on behalf of the company.

Justice Buba however agreed with the plaintiffs that the court has jurisdiction to look into the matter. He at the same time faulted an argument canvassed by the defendants in the objection that the suit was similar to another one filed by Ibrahim against Mr. Ray Ekpu, and others, and so it amounted to an abuse of court process, declaring that the parties in the instant suit are different from the other one.

The ruling paves the way for the hearing of the substantive suit.

•Photo: Ibrahim has failed in his bid to have the suit by aggrieved Newswatch directors dismissed.

Source: News Express

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