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Investments Tribunal Fines Four Stockbroking Firms N5m for Illegal Transactions

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  • Investments Tribunal Fines Four Stockbroking Firms N5m for Illegal Transactions

The Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) has sanctioned four stockbroking firms – Union Registrars Limited, UIDC Securities Limited, Gosord Securities Limited and Kapital Care Trust Securities Limited for irregular transactions and unlawful sale of multi-million naira worth of an investor’s shares.

Delivering judgment in a case instituted by a medical doctor, Dr. Okam Kalu Ugwu, against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the four firms, the IST, sitting in Enugu ordered that all irregular transactions in the Union Bank shares variously numbering 9,740 units, 20,740 units, 13,333, units, 9, 740 units, 25, 000 units, 16, 000, and 12, 986 units contained in different share certificates were declared illegal, unlawful, null and void.

The Tribunal also ordered that the 16, 876 units, 5,000 units, 850 units and 2,813 units of Union Bank shares purportedly covered by four other certificates be expunged from the claim, having not been established by credible evidence.

A statement issued by the acting Director, Corporate Affairs, IST, Mr. Kenneth Ezea stated that in the judgment delivered by the Presiding Chairman Hon. Nosa Smart Osemwengie, the Tribunal also reached the verdict that Union Registrars Limited, UIDC Securities Limited and Gosord Securities Limited are to restore and restitute the Claimant with 549,453 Union Bank shares and all bonuses and dividends in line with capital market rules, practice and procedures not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment.

Other Members of the Tribunal on the panel that reached the verdict are -Dr. Abubakar A. Ahmad, Albert l. Otesile, Mamman B. Zargana, Kasumi G. Kurfi and Onyemaechi E. Elujekor.

Union Registrars Limited was equally ordered to restore the name of the Claimant Dr. Okam Kalu Ugwu in the register of shareholders of Union Bank Plc as relate to the disputed shares in line with capital market rules, practices and procedures not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment.

All irregular transactions in the Claimant’s Guinness Plc shares covered by certificate number 22279776 were also declared illegal, null and void and Union Registrars Limited (2nd Defendant) and UIDC Securities Limited (3rd Defendants) were ordered to restore and restitute the Claimant with 2,083 units of Guinness Nig Plc with accrued bonuses and dividends, unlawfully verified, transferred and sold to third parties through their platforms not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment while Union Registrars (2nd Defendant) is to restore the name of the Claimant in the register of shareholders of Guinness Nigeria Plc.

Kapital Care Trust Securities Limited being the 5th Defendant was ordered to restore and restitute the Claimant with the 72,151units of Union Bank shares and accrued bonuses and dividends it unlawfully dealt with in line with Capital Market Rules, Practice and Procedures not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment and as well fined N100, 000 (One Hundred Thousand Naira) to be paid into the coffers of the Federal Government of Nigeria for breach of professional ethics in dealing with shares of the Claimant.

The sum of N5, 000, 000 (Five Million Naira) only was awarded as general damages against the Union Registrar Ltd., UIDC Securities Limited , and Gosord Securities Ltd jointly and severally in favour of the Claimant.

Restating the account of the case, Osemwengie said the action was commenced by way of Originating Application filed by the Claimant, Dr. Okam Kalu Ugwu, a Medical Doctor who claimed that he had over a total of 549, 453 units of Union Bank shares at all material time to the commencement of the action. He alleged that a total of 133, 078 units of the shares were unlawfully verified, dematerialized and transferred to 3rd parties by some of the Defendants without his authority, consent and knowledge.

The Claimant alleged further that the Union Registrars Ltd joggled its shareholding such that another 416,375 units of his Union Bank shares cannot be accounted for. He alleged further that his 2,083 units of Guinness Plc shares were also unlawfully verified, dematerialised and transferred to 3rd parties through the 2nd Defendant, Union Registrars, without his authority, consent and knowledge.

The Claimant informed the court that all his share certificates were kept in his residence at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State and that sometime on the 30th of July, 2007, he received a caution notice from First Registrars that some of his shares had been provided for verification. Alarmed that he did not give any instruction on his shares, he raced to where he kept his share certificates only to discover that they had disappeared.

The Claimant contended that Union Registrars did not respond to the letter written to it, rather it went ahead and dealt with the Claimant’s shares. As a follow up to the letter already sent to the 2nd Defendant, the Claimant on the 4th of December, 2007, went to the office of the 2nd Defendant to demand for details on his shareholding account. The Claimant met one Mr. Akeem who told him to produce copies of the share certificates and dividend warrant stumps to help in reconciling the Claimant’s account. This, the Claimant supplied the Mr. Akeem.

On the 16th of December, 2007, the Claimant wrote another letter to the 2nd Defendant reiterating his previous demands for details on his accounts, but no response were given. He decided to write a letter dated the 6th of April, 2009 asking the 2nd Defendant to place a caveat on his shares. However, the claimant was surprised to receive a letter from the 2nd Defendant in December, 2009 purported to have been written to him since the 30th of December, 2008. Enclosed in the letter were purported statement of account of the shareholding with Union Bank of Nig. Plc dated the 26th of January, 2009 containing 71, 311 units of shares, purported dividend report and CSCS transaction on the Claimant’s share accounts.

The defendants even traced the theft of the share certificates to an in-law of the Claimant who was a stockbroker but finding no merits in their defence the Tribunal blamed them for failure to exercise caution and apply the standard know your customer precautions even when duly forewarned. They were restrained from further dealing unlawfully with the Claimant’s shares.

The SEC being the 1st Defendant was exonerated from liability “From the totality of evidence before us, we do not think the 1st Defendant has breached his statutory role as apex regulatory body. We therefore hold that the 1st Defendant has performed its duties reasonably well”.

But SEC was however directed, under its regulatory powers, to supervise, monitor and ensure compliance by the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants to the orders of the Tribunal not later than 30 days from the date of this judgment.
SEC is also to ensure that shares restored and restituted to Claimant are moved to the stockbroker company of his choice.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Investment

Nigeria’s Insecurity Issues Force Mexican Investors to Stall Investment Plans

The insecurity issues ravaging Nigeria have forced some Mexican investors to put a hold on their plans to invest in the country.

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The insecurity issues ravaging Nigeria have forced some Mexican investors to put a hold on their plans to invest in the country.

This was disclosed by the Nigerian Ambassador to Mexico Hon. Adejare Bello.

He said that the Nigerian embassy frequently receives inquiries from investors about their plans to invest in the country and for possible collaboration.

With the abundance of natural resources in Nigeria, these investors have been looking to invest in areas such as gold mining, oil and gas, and agriculture, as well as partnering with Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote in the area of fertilizer procurement.

Unfortunately, these investors have stepped back on their plans due to the incessant attacks and insecurity challenges bedeviling the country.

In his words, “In the last decade, one of the critical challenges facing the Nigerian economy is the lack of adequate security of life and properties which has made the country lose so much in terms of foreign direct investment.

“The present situation in the country is very clear evidence of the impact of insecurity on the nation’s development in general and on the economy in particular.

“Lives are lost in the bombings, properties destroyed and businesses collapse as some businessmen who are not indigenes of the affected states leave and migrate to other states. Even the indigenes are taken to refugee camps leading to an increase in government expenditure”

Hon. Bello stated that the insecurity issues in the country have led to a slowdown of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which is worrisome, noting that it would be beneficial to the country due to its recent economic challenges.

He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to summon the political will necessary to ensure adequate internal security on a sustainable basis and create a friendly investment climate for inflows of foreign capital into the country.

Investors King understands that Nigeria’s insecurity challenges have not only slowed down investment inflow in the country, but it has also led to the exit of several multinational firms.

The country continues to miss out on so many opportunities of attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) due to escalating insecurity crisis.

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Ogun State Government Inaugurates Ogun Invest, Facilitates Agency

Ogun State Government on Friday inaugurated the Ogun State Investment and facilitation Agency, commonly referred to as the OGUNINVEST.

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Governor Abiodun of Ogun State

Ogun State Government on Friday inaugurated the Ogun State Investment and facilitation Agency, commonly referred to as the OGUNINVEST.

The inaugural ceremony was held at the Governor’s Office in Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.

The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun who led the inauguration said the newly inaugurated OGUNINVEST would promote the state and give access to both local and international investors.

The Governor, during the ceremony, said his administration had so far attracted nothing less than 36 investment portfolios that are worth over $1 billion.

He said that the investments altogether were able to generate over 40,000 jobs for the citizens of the state, and the facilitation agency would strengthen governance and diversification in Ogun state.

Abiodun disclosed that the primary focus of the agency is positioned on making the state an investment of choice, generating wealth for all in Ogun State citizens, and helping the private sectors grow.

He said, ” The facilitation agency is committed to attracting, facilitating, and nurturing investments into Ogun State.

“Our administration through Oguninvest Will continue to play the role of the enabler and facilitator to help the private sector grow, create jobs, and generate wealth for all in Ogun State.

“We have continued to reap a bountiful harvest from our commitment as existing investments are thriving and new investments are being attracted. As of today, we’ve been able to attract 36 new investments into Ogun State worth over a billion United States dollars and generated an estimation of over 40,000 jobs since the inception of OGUNINVEST.”

He disclosed that his administration has always been committed to the growth of the industrial sector in the state and that his administration would soon commence the construction of the Special Agro Processing Zone by November 2022.

The Governor included that a lot of tax reforms had been introduced under his administration, ensuring that multiple taxes were removed and his administration has also successfully made its payment process digital.

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Nigerian Investors Petitions Kenya Courts to Release Funds Held in Several Bank Accounts

2,000 Nigerian investors demanding the release of Ksh 1.44 billion ($1.8million) held by Safaricom and four other banks in Kenya.

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A petition has been made by more than 2,000 Nigerian investors demanding the release of Ksh 1.44 billion ($1.8million) held by Safaricom and four other banks in Kenya.

These investors claim that they were duped billions of shillings by a sports betting platform (86FB) that used Nigerian and African Fintech company Flutterwave to process payments.

Citing Kenya’s anti-money laundering laws, these investors are demanding that the sum of $12 million is split from the Ksh 6.6 B ($55 M) that was frozen in July in 62 bank accounts at Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), Equity Bank, Ecobank, and UBA Bank, as well as in 19 Safaricom paybill numbers.

The Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) was granted permission to freeze Ksh 5.17 B (USD 49 M) in 29 GTB accounts, with the remaining funds held in accounts at Equity and Ecobank in Kenyan Shillings, US Dollars, Euros, and British Pounds.

The large sums are alleged to be the proceeds of theft, credit card fraud, and money laundering that were wired under the guise of payments for goods and services.

One of the investors who identified himself as Morris Ebitimi Joseph claimed that he and other investors had filed a new lawsuit in Nigeria to seek the return of their funds.

They argued that a portion of the money belonged to them and have opposed the attempt to forfeit it to the Kenyan government which they claimed were fraudulent proceeds.

In his words, “I believe that the issuance of an order compelling Guaranty Trust Bank, Equity Bank, and Ecobank to deposit the sums excluded in the bank account of our advocates, justice shall be served to the 2,468 interested parties who were swindled of their hard-earned money through the scheme”.

Morris claimed that the investors put money into the investment scheme on the promise of better returns from the betting business, but however, never materialized.

Before the payments stopped, according to them, everything was fine for about six months. He also shared that after conducting research, he came to the conclusion that the operation was questionable, and now wants to join the case and help the court resolve the issue.

The Nigerian contingent is requesting the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), which declared in July that Flutterwave is not licensed in Kenya, to ask that the court issue an order directing Access Bank, Safaricom, and United Bank of Africa to deposit the excluded amount in the account of his attorneys.

“The claim made by the applicant/intended interested party represents the interest of 2,468 persons, thus occasioning monumental public interest.

Failure to expeditiously determine whether the application is in like fashion constitutes substantive and irreparable injustice,” Joseph says. He contends that there may be more people with an interest in the funds in addition to the 2,468 people who are requesting an injunction.

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