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MTN COMMUNICATIONS IN N200MILLION BREACH OF CONTRACT PALAVER

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A Lagos  Lawyer, Dr. Charles Dumber Mekwunye, has slammed N200milion suit on the telecommunication giant  MTN Nigeria communication Limited (MTNN),  over an alleged breach of contract

Joined as co-defendants in the ensuing legal warfare, are an investment company, Lotus Capital Limited, an asset management Company Stanbic IBTC Asset Management  and two other limited liability companies, IHS Holding Limited and INT Towers Limited.

Dr. Mekwunye, in his witness statement on oath he swore to and filed before a Federal high court in Lagos South West Nigeria by his Law firm, averred that sometime in 2008, he was invited by a fund management company, Lotus Capital Limited and Stanbic IBTC Assets Management Limited, to invest in a fund purportedly established by the Lotus Capital  called ‘Telecoms Private Equity Fund, which was an investment into MTNN Linked Units, and thereby bought 5,000 of the MTNN Linked Units at the rate of 24.56 USD, per unit in 2008, and paid the sum of 122,800 USD, which was equivalent of N18,376,800 million, thereafter he entered into an  agreement with the company who was an agent/nominee of Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Company and MTN Nigeria communications.

The investor also stated that Lotus Capital through a letter dated July 3, 2008, informed him that he had been allocated with 4,990 units, which represented 4,990 Linked Units of the MTN Communications Nigeria Limited’s private placement instead of 5000 MTN Linked Units. He added that pursuant to the said Telecoms Private Equity Fund Investment Agreement-Joint, he paid the sum of 122,800 USD, which was equivalent of N18,376,800 million, as consideration for the 5,000 units of the MTN Nigeria Linked Units.

He revealed further that both Lotus Capital Limited and Stanbic IBTC Asset Management Company, represented to him that at the end of three (3) years, the MTN Nigeria’s Linked Unit will be exchanged for MTN’s Shares in a Special Purpose Vehicle, which will be listed in the Nigeria Stock Exchange or globally recognized stock exchange, this he said was the primarily considered before investing in the MTN’s Linked Units.

However at the end of the three-year period, Stanbic IBTC asset management  in breach of the agreement failed to create the Exit Special Purpose Vehicle, (SPV), as agreed in private placement memorandum on the ground that MTN International is already quoted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and it was unwilling to setup another publicly quoted company, as well as on certain “tax consideration”. Whereas they clearly misinterpreted to him the creation of an Exit SPV when they never intended to setup same, especially vast the tax legislation, MTN International being already quoted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and other circumstances as regards public companies have remained unchanged from the commencement of the offer and for the three years of the contract tenure up to February 2011, and   should have been anticipated by MTN International and the defendants.

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Following the failure/refusal of the defendants  to setup a Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV, at the expiration of the three years anniversary of the nominee structure, as stated in the memorandum, Lotus capital  without his consent  or knowledge entered into a supplemental agreement to the Custodian Term and Condition with Stanbic IBTC Assets Management limited dated November 1, 2010, which was captioned Information Memorandum in respect of Exit Mechanism for beneficial shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communication Limited, amending the terms of the private placement memorandum regarding the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle, thereby creating alternative Exit Mechanism which was neither listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange or any globally recognized stock exchange

Dr. Mekwunye averred  further that in breach of the 2008 agreement, he was not given the 90 days or three months notice required under Clause 12 of Custodian terms and conditions to the private placement memorandum for the exchange of the exit mechanism and by April 4, 2013,  Lotus Capital informed him of an upward review of “management fees” without his knowledge/consent, the said management fees was arbitrarily reviewed to one percent of the value of his investment, and was to take retroactive effect from January 2013,  as a result, the sum of 1,750 USD, being one percent of the then value of his investment was deducted by the Lotus. Capital as per the letter of April 4, 2013 in January 2013, January 2014 and January 2015 making the total of 5,250 USD management fees deducted from total value of his MTN unit each year.  This he claimed has caused him considerable loss since 2011.

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As a result of the alleged breach of contract, the plaintiff is seeking the following court declaration that the Lotus Capital is in breach of the contract for the sale of MTN Linked Unit shares it entered into with him on May 21, 2008, a declaration that there exists a fiduciary relationship between them.

Declaration that the defendants improperly induced him to enter into telecom private equity fund management of May 21, 2008, by representing to him after three years of the nominee structure all MTN Nigeria Linked Units will be converted into shares in MTN Nigeria through a Special Purpose Vehicle.

‪He is also seek a court order for the immediate return of the sum of 1,770 USD, being one percent value of his investment deducted by Lotus Capital the on January 1, 2013, and for the refund of 1,770 USD deducted in January 2014, and also the sum of 4,500 USD, deducted in January 2015, purported as management or nominee fees or such as court may find to have been deducted as management fees for each of the three years.

An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants jointly, and severally, their privies, agents, and successors from further deducting any sum as management or nominee or any other fees whatsoever from the dividends accruing to him from the dividends payable on MTN Nigeria Linked Units or from the value of the 5000 MTN Linked Units owned by him.

 

‪Stanbic IBTC Assets Management Limited, in its statement of defence deposed to by its Investment Manager, Mr. Olugbenga Saseun, affirmed that the plaintiff in his statement of claim was right that sometime in 2007, MTN International under private placement arrangement offered MTN Linked Units of MTN Nigeria Limited to some private individual and institutional investors in accordance with the terns and conditions stated in a private placement memorandum, adding that he was involved and had knowledge of the offer by virtue of his employment with the Stanbic IBTC Asset Management company .

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Over 60 frontline workers benefit from Health Workers Fund

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Sterling Bank

The N1 billion Health Workers Fund set up to support frontline health workers combating the COVID-19 pandemic has supported more than 60 frontline health workers since it launched in March.

Dr. Olaokun Soyinka, Chairman, Governance Board of the Fund, disclosed this in a statement issued in Lagos over the weekend. The seasoned public health expert and former Commissioner of Health in Ogun State said almost N59 million has been donated to the Health Workers’ Fund by public spirited corporate organisations and individuals.

“We are very proud of our strides so far, and are excited by the opportunity to provide succor to frontline health workers in the country. More than 60 health care workers from different parts of the country have been paid tokens in appreciation of their service at this critical time. We want them to be motivated when they walk into COVID-19 Isolation centres because some of their basic needs are sorted.

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“With the rising cases of infections daily, we urge Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to donate now in support of frontline health workers wherever they are in the country. They are doing whatever it takes to protect us. We can all play a part in empowering and motivating to function effectively on the job”, Dr Olaokun Soyinka appeals.

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He called on public-spirited Nigerians to contribute their quota by visiting www.giving.ng/covid19 to make donations. Leading the donor’s chart, Sterling Bank Plc, Nigeria’s leading commercial bank, supported the N1 billion Health Workers’ Fund with N25 million.


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FIRSTBANK LEVERAGES TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE VIRTUAL BANK ACCOUNT OPENING FOR CUSTOMERS

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced that it has reinforced its technology infrastructure to enable anyone in the country open a FirstBank account through their mobile phones, without visiting any of its branches nationwide.

 

The investment in the Bank’s mobile banking infrastructure is in furtherance of the need to deepen financial inclusion in the country, enabling account opening to be carried out on its *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile (self-service telephone banking), its website – www.firstbanknigeria.com – as well as the Bank’s staff, through the Direct Sales Executive (DSE) application installed on their mobile phone, ATMs and the bank’s over 55,000 FirstMonie Agents spread across the country. Opening an account with FirstBank through any of these means is seamless, convenient, fast, and user-friendly.

 

The DSE App is an end to end encrypted mobile application installed on the phone(s) of FirstBank staff which enables them to open an account for to-be customers. Upon the completion of the account opening process via the DSE App, the customer is notified of his or her account number through a text message on the mobile phone used to register the account.

 

With FirstBank’s *894# USSD banking, various banking activities are carried out on a mobile phone – across the four major GSM network operators in the country – without the use of the internet. To open an account via this means, dial *894# then select ‘open an account’ to provide the information required or by simply dialling *894*0#. The Bank currently has over 9.5 million of its nearly 20 million customers on its USSD banking platform.

 

The FirstMonie Agent Banking is an agent banking initiative from the bank that is designed to take banking closer to people, thereby bridging the gap between the banked and unbanked. FirstMonie is a channel through which various banking activities like FirstBank account opening, funds transfer, bill payments, data and call credit recharge services, amongst others are carried out. The Agent Banking initiative has also contributed to reducing poverty, being responsible for the indirect employment of over 150,000 people across the country.

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According to Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “beyond opening an account in any of our over 700 branches, we are delighted with the investments at reinventing our business processes over the years, especially with the use of technology. This has been critical to staying relevant in the industry for over 126 years and being the financial partner of the first choice to all our customers and Nigerians, irrespective of where they are.”

 

Creating these virtual ways of opening a bank account with us – thus; the staff DSE App, ATMs, FirstMonie Agents, *894# USSD banking, FirstMobile and our website – reinforces our resolve to ensure that more Nigerians and residents have access to banking, especially through our state of the art financial services and we remain resolute to being the key to banking, enabling business and financial activities that would continue to propel the country’s economic growth and development.

About FirstBank

First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 125 years.

With over 750 business locations and 55,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and corporate financial services to serve its over 15 million customers. The Bank has international presence through its subsidiaries, FBN Bank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FBNBank in the Republic of Congo, Ghana, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone and Senegal, as well as a Representative Office in Beijing.

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The Bank has been nimble at promoting digital payment in the country and has issued over 10million cards, the first bank to achieve such milestone in the country. FirstBank’s cashless transaction drive extends to having more than 9.5million people on its USSD banking service through the nationally renowned *894# banking service and over 3.5 million people on Firstmobile platform.

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership. Over the years, the Bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the Federal Government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner.

FirstBank has been named “Most Valuable Bank Brand in Nigeria” six times in a row (2011 – 2016) by the globally renowned “The Banker Magazine” of the Financial Times Group; “Best Retail Bank in Nigeria” for seven consecutive years (2011 – 2017) by the Asian Banker International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Awards and “Best Bank in Nigeria” by Global Finance for 15 years. Our brand purpose is to always put customers, partners and stakeholders at the heart of our business, even as we standardise customer experience and excellence in financial solutions across sub-Saharan Africa, in consonance with our brand vision “To be the partner of first choice in building your future”. Our brand promise is to always deliver the ultimate “gold standard” of value and excellence. This commitment is anchored on our inherent values of passion, partnership and people, to position You First in every respect.

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Its Official: Manchester United Finally Seal Odion Ighalo’s Loan Extension Deal

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Manchester United

Manchester United has finally sealed a loan extension deal for striker Odion Ighalo.

Recall that Ighalo’s six months loan deal with the UK-based expired May 31.

Ighalo

However, with a ban on international footballers returning to the country till October, United sought a loan extension with Ighalo’s parent club, Shanghai Shenhua.

The deal will expire in January 31, 2021.

In a statement, the club said: 

“Manchester United have reached agreement with Shanghai Greenland Shenhua to extend the loan deal for Odion Ighalo.

“The Nigerian striker’s stay was initially due to end on 31 May but he will now remain with the Reds until 31 January 2021, enabling him to build on an impressive start to life with the club he supported as a boy.

“Ighalo’s tally of four goals in eight appearances so far includes at least one strike in each of his three starts – against Club Brugge, Derby County (2) and LASK.

“Today’s confirmation is a timely boost for United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, as he continues to prepare his squad for this month’s resumption of competitive football.”

“They [Shanghai Greenland Shenhua] have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club,” Solskjaer said.

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“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us.”

Ighalo scored four times in eight appearances in all competitions before the suspension of the Premier League.

 

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