Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Bishop Oyedepo Dragged To Court For Breach Of Contract

Bishop David Oyedepo,the founder of the Living Faith Church, also known as Winners’ Chapel, is being sued by a stock brokerage firm, Valueline Securities and Investment Limited over alleged breach of agreement on a N9bn worth of investment.

The firm, along with its Managing Director, Samuel Enyinnaya, has instituted a legal action before a Federal High Court in Lagos,Punch reports.

The firm is seeking an order of the court compelling Oyedepo and others to pay them the sum of N1.86bn jointly and severally as professional fees and damages.

Other defendants in the suit are Oyedepo’s wife, Abiola; his children and blood relatives, Priscillia, Jesutobi, Makinde and Isaac.

Others include, World Mission Agency Inc, which is the overall ruling organ of the Winners’ Chapel; Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State; and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.The plaintiffs are claiming that Oyedepo and the other defendants entered an Investment Portfolio Management Agreement with them and appointed them as the portfolio managers to oversee and to ensure the profitability of the said investment worth about N9bn in the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

They agreed that 2.25 per cent of the net asset value of the portfolio and an annual incentive fee of 10 per cent of the returns on the investment would be paid to the plaintiffs.Trouble started when Oyedepo wanted to buy his first private jet and the World Mission Agency Inc. ordered the sale of majority of the securities in the investment portfolio, so as to raise the N3bn needed for the jet. This resulted in a huge loss to investment.

In a bid to avoid their financial obligations to the plaintiffs, Oyedepo and his organisations were said to have written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleging fraud and embezzlement against the plaintiffs.

They were also dragged before the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE on the grounds that the investment portfolio was mismanaged and that the margin loans were taken by the plaintiffs without the consent of the first to 10th defendants.

The plaintiffs were found innocent after 6 years of investigation by the EFCC.The plaintiffs are claiming the situation put them and their business in a difficult position and are praying the court to “declare that the NSE had been conducting the trial before it in a manner prejudicial to the plaintiffs’ fundamental right to fair hearing.”

They are also asking the court presided over by Justice Mohammed Yunusa to reverse what they described as malicious freezing of their trading accounts by the NSE.

The plaintiffs want the court to compel the NSE to pay them N61m for the closure of their accounts and to make an order compelling the first to 10th defendants to pay them N780m, being their unpaid professional fees for managing their investment portfolio.

In addition, the plaintiffs also want N1bn in damages jointly and severally against the defendants for the trauma and psychological torture and loss of reputation they suffered by the actions of the defendants as well as N25m solicitors fees and the cost of instituting the action.However, the NSE in its preliminary objection asked the court to decline jurisdiction over the suit as it ought to have been filed before the Investment and Securities Tribunal and not at the Federal High Court.Presiding over the case, Justice Yunusa adjourned hearing to February 16, 2015.


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