Thursday, 31 January 2013

Jimoh Ibrahim Loses Bid to Halt Newswatch Suit

A businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, has lost his bid to halt a suit by two minority shareholders of the news magazine, Newswatch, who are challenging the legitimacy of his control of the magazine before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

The court, presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba, on Thursday dismissed a preliminary objection brought by Ibrahim and his companies, Global Mirror Media Limited and Newswatch Newspaper Limited.

The judge also adjourned till today (Friday) ruling on the application by the plaintiffs seeking a restraining order against the defendants,  Newswatch Communications, Global Media, Ibrahim and Newswatch Newspapers.

Buba is expected to rule on whether or not to stop the defendants from publishing and selling to the public the daily Newswatch newspapers pending the determination of substantive suit.

The plaintiffs – Nuhu Aruwa and Prof. Jibril Aminu – had accused Ibrahim of fraudulent acquisition of the magazine.

They alleged that Ibrahim violated the agreement forming the basis on which he purportedly assumed majority shareholding and became the chairman of Newswatch.

In his ruling on Ibrahim's preliminary objection seeking to halt the hearing of the suit, Buba dismissed the application for lacking merit.

The judge described as "huge joke" the claim by Ibrahim and his company that by virtue of the provision in the Share Purchase Agreement entered in May 2011, it was the state High Court alone that could hear cases relating to the agreement.

He upheld the argument by the plaintiffs that the agreement relates to share transactions on which the Federal High Court possesses exclusive jurisdiction.

The SPA of May 2011 between Newswatch Communications Limited and GMML, formed the basis  on which  Ibrahim purportedly assumed majority shareholding and became the chairman of Newswatch.

Justice Buba also held that the suit was not an abuse of court's process, contrary to Ibrahim's argument that the suit was similar to the one he had filed against some pioneer directors of Newswatch.

Source: PUNCH


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