Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has warned parties to a management tussle between the board members of the Eko Hospital, Lagos to maintain status quo ante belum.
Justice Peter Lifu made the order following an application by plaintiffs’ counsel, Mr Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.
The plaintiffs in the matter are Dr Sunday Kuku, Uzochukwu Eneli, Ufo Atuanya, Ikechukwu Eneli, Ify Eneli, Nwamaka Ezekwugo, (For themselves as beneficiaries of the estate of late Dr Alexander Chukwuma Eneli.
The respondents are EKOCORP PLC, Geoff Ohen Ltd, Professor J.O. Irukwu, SAN, Dr Augustine Amaechi Obiora, Greenwich Registrars And Data Solutions Ltd, Securities And Exchange Commission as well as the Corporate Afairs Commission.
The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction, pending the hearing and determination of this suit, restraining the 6th and 7th Defendants/ Respondents, from giving effect to the resolution approving the sale by private placement of 110,000,000 units of shares to the 2nd Respondent or any resolution(s) passed at the 1st Defendant/ Respondent’s purported extraordinary meeting held on the 3rd day of June, 2021,
They are also seeking to, among others, reatrain the 6th and 7th Defendants/ Respondents from registering any portion of the 110,000,000 units of shares purportedly approved by the resolution passed at the 1st Respondent’s purported extra-ordinary general of meeting of June 3, 2021 in the name of the second Respondent or altering the register of shares of the 1st Defendant or issuing Shares Certificates to the 2nd Respondent in that regard.
At the resumption of hearing on Friday, Pinheiro informed the court that the 2nd, 6th and 7th Defendants were not represented in court despite hearing notices being served on them, and an affidavit of service was before the court to this effect.
He said in view of that and the fact that the 1st, 3rd & 4th defendants’ counsel were not ready to proceed, the court ought to adjourn till a date convenient for parties.
“My lord, we are in your hands, the defendants did not respect the pendency of this case in court.
“At the last adjourned date in July the defendants gave an undertaking that nothing would be done until the determination of our motion, but sir, they are not complying with it.
“On the 26th of August, the defendants called a meeting and and took some decisions.
“My application this morning is for my lord to order status quo. There should be discipline in our profession ” Pinheiro said.
But the 1st, 3rd & 4th defendants’ counsel B.C Akunya who did not robe, but was indulged by his judge, told the court that there had been no meeting and that the only meeting that was held was to inform the directors of the company of the demise of the one of the founding partners (the 4th Defendant).
He also told the court that there was no relief restraining the 1st defendant, a public limited liability company, from holding their statutory AGM.
But Pinheiro stated that there are both declaratory and injunctive reliefs relating to the chairmanship of the General Meetings and that the statements made by the 1st, 3rd & 4th defendants’ counsel that the meeting held on the 22nd of August, 2021 was only to notify the company of the demise of a founding partner is false, adding that the notice of meeting itself was in breach of the status quo order.
According to him, the notice of meeting stated that: “The acting chairman of the board, Prof. Irukwu, SAN, has requested an emergency meeting of the board for discussions”.
In a bench ruling, the Court ordered and redirected that parties continue to maintain status quo pending the determination of the suit.
Justice Lifu adjourned till November 12, 2021 for hearing.