The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has filed a Notice of Appeal challenging the judgement of the Federal High Court delivered on the 19th day of November, 2018, restraining the servants of the CAC who are legal practitioners from further deposing to or signing the Statutory Declaration of Compliance requirement of Section 35 (3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2004, as amended.
The case with Suit No: FHC/KN/CS/86/2018, between Nwocha Ernest & 2 Ors v. The CAC, dated the 15th day of January, 2018, was brought before the Penultimate Court of Nigeria, the Court of Appeal, Kuduna Judicial Division, based on five solid grounds of appeal, as sighted by TheNigerialawyer (TNL).
The Appellant (CAC) had claimed that learned trial judge erred in law, when he held in his final ruling/judgement of 19th November of 2018, and granted an injunction restraining the servants of the 2nd Respondent/Appellant who are legal practitioners from further deposing to or signing the Statutory Declaration of Compliance requirement of Section 35 (3) of the Companies And Allied Matters Act Cap C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, thereby, occasioning a denial/miscarriage of Justice.
Part of the particulars of error in law stated is that CAC lawyers are by law to carry on the duties of legal practitioners to the CAC, and that by the amendment of the Companies Regulation made in 2017, they are to notarize Form of Compliance for customers of the CAC who intend to do direct registration of companies by themselves, arguing that those in private practice are not precluded from deposing to the form; also that, no law has a provision that the declaration required to be made to register companies in Nigeria is limited to a declaration made by a lawyer in private practice.
On another ground, it was argued that the trial judge misdirected himself in law and gave a perverse judgment when he ignored his findings in the said judgment to the effect that the provisions of Regulation 11 (a) and (b) of Companies Regulation 2012 have not prevented prospective clients from using the services of the Applicant and indeed private legal practitioners, and yet the learned trial judge proceeded to grant an injunction restraining the servants of the 2nd Respondent/Appellant who are legal practitioners from further deposing to or signing the Statutory Declaration of Compliance requirement of Section 35 (3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004; that the learned trial judge erred in law when he failed to properly understand, interpret and address the provisions of Section 35 (3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act CAP C20 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Section 2 (1) and 24 (1) of the Legal Practitioners Act with regard to the meaning of “Legal practitioner” as inclusive of the employers of the CAC who are such; and that it occasioned a miscarriage of justice to the Appellant.
They further argued among others that, the trial judge erred in law when he expanded the statutory provisions of Regulation 11 (b) of the Companies Regulations 2012 (As Amended) and Section 35 (3) of CAMA contrary to the decision of the Supreme Court in Coca-cola Nigeria Ltd v. Akinsanya (2017) NWLR (Pt. 1593) 74.
Femi Ogunlade, PhD, and Chief. I.C. Ekpunobi, Esq., are counsel to the CAC while Ernest Nkwocha Esq., a Kano based Constitutional Lawyer who is the Principal Counsel and Head of Chambers of Ernest Nkwocha Chambers, Kano, and also a Counsel in the law office of M.A. Lawan, as well as the current Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association, Kano, is the Respondent who instituted the suit at the Court of first instance.
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