By Nkiruka Nnorom
Aggrieved by the plan of the Federal Government (FG) to borrow the over N158 billion outstanding unclaimed dividend, shareholders have sued the government at Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Division, seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with the plan.
They said that allowing the federal government to go ahead with the plan would frustrate efforts by shareholders to recover any outstanding unclaimed dividend given the tedious processes involved in making that claim as contained in the 2020 Finance Act.
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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 respondents.
The shareholders under the aegis of Palm Wealth Shareholders Association (PWSA) in a court notice signed by their President, Emokeraro Simon, are praying the court to restrain the FG 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 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.
According to them, 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).
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, arguing 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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