Court dismisses Stanbic IBTC suit against FRC
JUSTICE Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday dismissed the suit filed by Stanbic IBTC Plc against the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC).
Justice Buba said the court cannot grant the reliefs sought by the plaintiff.
According to the judge, the contract entered into by Stanbic IBTC with the Standard Bank of South Africa was against the provisions of Section 7 of the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) Act, which seeks to protect the country from being used as dumping ground.
In dismissing the suit, the judge said: “The court cannot find any merit in the instant originating summons and it is accordingly dismissed”.
The plaintiff had sought a declaration that failure to register a “registrable” agreement under the NOTAP Act is not a criminal offence.
It also sought a declaration that FRC has no power to dictate to a public interest entity the types of commercial agreements that it may enter into in the conduct of its business.
FRC had sanctioned Stanbic IBTC over its audited accounts for 2013 and 2014, and also suspended the bank’s chairman, Mr. Atedo Peterside, and its Chief Executive, Mrs. Sola David-Borha, and also barred them from vouching for the integrity of any financial statements in Nigeria.
However, before Justice Buba dismissed the Stanbic IBTC Plc’s suit, he had dismissed all objections filed by FRC and other respondents in suit.
Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc said FRCN, since August 3, had been investigating its audited accounts for the year ended December 2014.
It added that the investigations concern liabilities accrued in its 2014 accounts in respect of franchise fees owed to Standard Bank of South Africa, the registration of which it said has been pending before NOTAP since 2011.
The plaintiff said FRC labelled the franchise agreement as illegal, and invited IBTC Holdings’ Chief Executive Officers to appear before it. According to the plaintiff, following a meeting on October 16, the Council informed it that it committed criminal offence and that it would be reported to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).