Ecobank, O&O telecoms appeal rulings against Airtel shares sales
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and O&O Networks Limited said they have appealed an unfavourable Court of Appeal Judgment relating to shares that it previously owned in Airtel Networks Limited.
In a statement, the lender and the telecoms firm said that their lawyers have filed Notices of Appeal against the judgments, alongside Motions to Stay Execution of the Judgments. Parties to the appeals, including Broad Communications Limited, have been served with the court papers.
It would be recalled that in August 2018, O & O Networks sold its shares in Airtel Networks Limited for N22.5 billion (approximately $62.5 million) with the permission of the Federal High Court on June 7, 2018.
Subsequently, Broad Communications Ltd filed an interlocutory application requesting the Federal High Court of Nigeria to grant an order directing O&O Networks to place N22.5 billion – the entire proceeds of the sale of the Airtel shares and an amount which is significantly in excess of the plaintiff’s total monetary claim – into an escrow account in the name of the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court, pending the final determination of the substantive claim.
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The Federal High Court of Nigeria granted the interlocutory application on March 7, 2019. O & O Networks subsequently filed a Notice of Appeal and an application to stay of execution of the Ruling.
The appeals against the Ruling were dismissed by the Court of Appeal on November 4, 2020. A further appeal against the judgments, alongside Motions to Stay Execution of the Judgments have been filed to the Supreme Court.
The statement said that O&O Networks will prosecute the Supreme Court appeal vigorously as it believes the substantive claim of Broad Communications Ltd. is without merit whatsoever as O & O Networks sold the shares validly and with the authorization of a court of law.
O&O Networks is a special purpose vehicle previously owned by former Oceanic Bank International Limited (‘Oceanic’) and which, in 2011, formed part of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s (ETI) acquisition of Oceanic.