By Emma Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
Disputes among various players in the nation’s capital market on stocks worth over N370 billion are currently before the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST). The Chairman of the tribunal, Mr. Isaka Idoko-Akoh, disclosed this, in Abuja, yesterday, while briefing the press on the activities of the organization in the first 100 days of the new administration.
“If you are to quantify it in terms of money, as at today, from the number of cases before us, I think over N370 billion is involved, as investors money in these cases between investors and clients or operators, and regulators.
“The way we have started, within a short time, all these matters will be resolved and impact positively on the market”, he said.
The IST was without a chairman for about two years, until Mr. Idoko-Akoh was appointed in August, this year.
According to the chairman, his strategy for delivering on the tribunal’s mandate will be speedy dispensation of justice, with a view to effectively restore investor confidence to the capital market.
He said that his team has taken a firm position not to entertain mischievous and frivolous preliminary objections aimed at delaying matters before it.
Idoko-Akoh said that the tribunal would at all time keep to the three-month limit within which every matter before it must be resolved with.
He said: “The law that established this tribunal provides for the resolution of disputes within three months of hearing. In ordinary courts, it is not easy to achieve that feat.
“In ordinary courts, matters may last for seven to ten years and may not be resolved because of numerous applications, preliminary objections and all of that.
“In our own case, since the law imposes on us, a period of three months, within which to resolve disputes or matters that come before us, either an appeal from SEC or by way of originating application, we have come up with a policy that once a matter is set for hearing, after all preliminaries have been done with, which is with speed, we will not entertain mischievous or frivolous applications that will drag the hands backward, because if we do so, the matter may go beyond the three months and the law will catch up with us.
“Our strategy is that all the applications that will delay a matter will be contained in the final address of the counsel when the hearing is completed and that will enable us deliver judgment even before the three months. For those we have dealt with so far, that was the approach we applied.