Shareholders sue Federal Government over plan to borrow N158bn unclaimed dividends

Emmanuel Akosile | ConsumerConnect

Miffed by the Federal Government of Nigeria’s plan to borrow the over N158 billion outstanding unclaimed dividends, shareholders under the aegis of the Palm Wealth Shareholders Association (PWSA), have sued the government at a Federal High Court, in Suit No. FHC/AB/FHR/14/2021, at Abeokuta Division, in Ogun State, seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with the plan.

The concerned shareholders stated that allowing the Federal Government to go ahead with the plan would frustrate their efforts at recovering any outstanding unclaimed dividends, in view of the tedious processes involved in making that claim as contained in the Finance Act 2020, according to report.

The lawsuit has the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning and Accountant-General of the Federation as respondents.

 

Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, Honourable Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning

Emokeraro Simon, President of PWSA, in a court notice stated the Association is praying the court to restrain the Federal Government from calling for, or transferring the unclaimed dividends of the applicants (shareholders) in public quoted companies to the Unclaimed Funds Trust Fund to be floated by the government.

According to them, doing is contrary to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights Act, Laws of the Federation.

Doing so without proven legal and constitutional ground is unconstitutional and violates the applicants right to acquire and own moveable and immovable personal properties as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), PWSA said.

In an affidavit in support of their application, the shareholders observed that they are “intimidated, in fact, psychologically traumatised and threatened by the provisions of the Finance Act 2020.

They contended that it would inflict grievous harm on the shareholders if the provision is allowed to come into operation and the dividends, which the shareholders are working seriously to claim taken over.

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