October 20, 2014 – The Management of Newswatch Communication said it has appealed judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba which transferred ownership of the company from Lagos businessman, Mr. Jimoh Ihrahim.
In a statement, Chief Executive Officer, Newswatch Communications, Mr. Moses Jolayemi said it has filed a Notice of Appeal against the judgment of the Federal High Court in favour of the minority shareholders delivered by Hon Justice Buba in Lagos, Monday (20th October).
“The Federal High Court is not a final court in Nigeria and it will be appropriate to file appeal against the ruling”, Chief Executive Office, Newswatch, Mr. Moses Jolayemi said in a statement.
He added that despite the judgment rendered by – Hon Justice O E Abang – Judgment of 1/7/2013 in the case of Newswatch Communication & Others Vs Ray Ekpu & Others. Suit No: FHC/L/C5/1054/2012, where in the learned judge declared,
‘’I have evidence before me that the 2nd and 3rd Plaintiff paid the purchase price of N510,000,000.00. if indeed they did not pay this amount before the completion date which was 5/5/2011, I wonder why the agreement was even executed and I also wonder why he was admitted into the Board of the 1st Plaintiff and elected Chairman’’, Justice Buba went ahead to declare that there was no evidence of payment, Jolayemi said.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had denied Lagos businessman, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim ownership of Newswatch Communications Ltd even after the respondent had insisted that he paid N510million to take over 51 percent of controlling shares.
The court nullified the Share Purchase Agreement that transferred ownership away from original owners , Mr. Ray Ekpu and Co to Global Media Mirror Ltd.
Accordingly the court awarded N15.7 million damages against the respondents as well as an order halting further publications of Newswatch Daily among other reliefs sought by the petitioners.
Justice Ibrahim Buba upheld all the prayers of the minority shareholders Mr. Nuhu Aruwa and Prof. Jibril Aminu who had filed the suit challenging the validity of the takeover of the company.
Ruling on the matter, Justice Buba said that the respondents, Jimoh Ibrahim could not prove that they paid up for the shares.
“The petitioners gave evidence to show that the second to third respondents have blatantly failed to pay for the shares in the company. They have not showed how and when they paid for the said shares. Nothing in paragraph 11 and 18A of the respondents’ statement of defence shows how they have paid for the shares.
There is no evidence in paragraph 3.0 that the respondents have paid on or before 5th May, 2011.
“The respondents have only given their interpretation to that paragraph. Whatever monies they spent was spent on Daily Mirror and was confirmed by DW2 during cross-examination. The N510 million was supposed to be paid for shares and not for any other purpose. There is no evidence to show that the shares have been paid for. Besides, it was a company called “Global Fleet” that paid the N14 million, not any of the respondents who contracted with the first respondent,” the judge noted.