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Shareholders sue FG over plan to borrow from unclaimed dividends

President Muhammadu Buhari

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Nigerian Shareholders under the umbrella of Palm Wealth Shareholders Association (PWSA) as Applicants,has sued the Federal Government of Nigeria at Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Division, over its plan to borrow from unclaimed dividends and other matters.

The Case with Suit No. FHC/AB/FHR/14/2021 has the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning and Accountant General of the Federation as parties.

A statement from the Shareholders group, and signed on behalf of the management by the President, Emokeraro Simon, said the case will come up on 25/02/2021, noting that all stakeholders involved in the unclaimed dividends value chain should take note.

According to the legal documents sighted this medium, the group is seeking the following Orders and Declarations:
1. An Order of the Hon. Court for the Enforcement of the Applicants’ Fundamental Rights to acquire and own immoveable and moveable personal property.

2. An order restraining the Federal Government, that is, the Respondents from calling for or transferring the UNCLAIMED dividends of the Applicants in public quoted Companies to the UNCLAIMED Funds Trust Fund.

3. An order restraining the Respondents from Harassing, intimidating, inviting the companies or their Registrars for the purpose of transferring the UNCLAIMED dividends belonging to the Applicants to the UNCLAIMED Funds Trust Fund contrary to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999(as amended), the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act, Laws of the Federation.

4. An order of the Hon.Court restraining the Respondents from borrowing the UNCLAIMED dividends belonging to the Applicants.

5. A Declaration by the Hon. Court that the Applicants have Rights guaranteed and protected under sections 43 & 44 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Articles 14 and 24 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and Article 17 of the United Nation’s Charter on Human Rights 1945 and sections 42 (1) and (2) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act.

6. A Declaration of the Hon. Court that Part XV of the Finance Act 2020 calling for or transferring the UNCLAIMED dividends of the Applicants in public quoted companies to UNCLAIMED Funds Trust Fund by the Respondents without any constitutional grounds is unconstitutional, null and void and of no moment as it violates the Applicants Fundamental Rights.

7. A Declaration of the Hon. Court that the Applicants are entitled to claim their dividends without coercion, stampede and intimidation from the Respondents.

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