9mobile sale suffers setback as shareholders reject sales over $43m debt


Shareholders of 9Mobile have cautioned the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission 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 the network 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 Mangal, issued the warning on Thursday in letters written by their lawyer, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), to the six parties said to be involved in the transaction.

Apart from the CBN and the NCC, others whom the letter were addressed to are Etisalat International Nigeria Limited, 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 read: “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 appearance 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.”

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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