The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today, nullified the sale of Newswatch Magazine to Jimoh Ibrahim, in a case which presided over by Justice Ibrahim Buba saw he awarding N15.7 million damages against Jimoh Ibrahim as he also ordered the stoppage of the publication of Daily Newswatch.
Upholding the prayers of the Minority shareholders, Justice Ibrahim hinted that others could not prove where they paid for the shares.
Delivering the judgement Justice Ibrahim said; “They have not shown how and when they paid for the said shares, and nothing in paragraph 11 and 18A of the respondent’s statement of defence shows how they paid for the shares.
“There is no evidence in paragraph 3.0 that the respondents paid on or before May 5, 2011, as stated, as they have only given their interpretation to that paragraph.
“Whatever monies they spent was spent on Daily Mirror and this 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 held.
The judge, therefore, granted the Plaintiiffs’ reliefs, namely: “An order setting aside the contract entered into between the first and second respondent companies by virtue of document titled: ‘Share Purchase Agreement’ between the first and second respondents executed in May, 2011.
“A consequential order setting aside the Form CAC2 ( Statement of Share Capital and Return of Allotment of Shares) of the 1st Respondent company dated Aug. 27, 2012, and presented for filing by one Gloria A. Ukeje.
“An order directing the 2nd and 3rd respondents jointly and severally, to pay special damages in the sum of N15.7 million to the first respondent Company, being loss of Business profits since August 2012 till October 2012 when its operations were unilaterally shut down.”
According to the court, they petitioners discharged the burden placed on them by proving their case, while the first to fourth respondents failed to do so.
It will be recalled that minority shareholders, Mr. Nuhu Aruwa and Prof. Jubril Aminu has urged the court to quash the Share Purchase Agreement which transferred the company’s ownership to Ibrahim, while they also sought an order restraining the respondents from publishing and selling to the public, Newswatch Daily, Newswatch magazine, Saturday Newswatch and Sunday Newswatch.