Shareholders under the umbrella of Palm Wealth Shareholders Association (PWSA) have sued the government at the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Abeokuta Division, seeking to restrain the government from going ahead with the plan to borrow over N158 billion unclaimed dividend.
They said if the Federal Government should go ahead with the plan, the process of claiming those dividends would be frustrating to shareholders who wants to recover them due to the tedious processes involved in making that claim as contained in the Finance Act, 2020 and it will violate the applicants right to acquire and own moveable and immovable personal properties as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
In an affidavit supporting the application, the shareholders observed that they are intimidated, in fact, psychologically traumatised and threatened by the provisions of the Finance Act, 2020.
They argued 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.
PWSA, in a court notice by its President, Emokeraro Simon, 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 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.
“The respondents have made it clear to borrow the unclaimed dividends to be deposited in the Unclaimed Dividend Trust Fund without our consent and authority," Emokeraro said.
“It will be more difficult if not impossible to recover or claim them since we have to apply to the Chairman of the Unclaimed Dividend Trust Fund, which application has to be referred to the various registrars for clearance and verification before payment will be made to the owner.
“The process will be herculean, cumbersome, difficult, time and resources consuming than it is now,” he concluded.