The Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) has said that plans by the Federal Government to take over the N200billion unclaimed dividend is unconstitutional.
ISAN, which declared this in a position paper by its Founder, Sunny Nwosu, and its National Co-ordinator, Dr Anthony Omojola, stated that underground moves to take over the funds via a “trust fund”is null and void as government lacks powers to manage funds belonging to private sector investors.
Also, they posited that the reported scheme by government to borrow from the fund is apparently illegal because “you can not borrow money that does not belong to you”. As the shareholder group pointed out: “Dividends are private wealth of investors, either individuals or corporate entities. The idea of converting such private wealth to federal wealth negates the relevant provisions of the rights to own property as guaranteed by the 1999 constitution.
“Our opinion is that S39 to the extent of its inconsistency with S44 of the 1999 constitution(as amended)is null and void. The law expressly states that there shall be no forceful take over of any private move-able property of any Nigerian without due and appropriate compensation and or valid court order.” ISAN reminded all and sundry that dividends are only available to investors after “the company has paid a host of taxes, including companies income Tax Act (CITA), Educational Trust Fund (ETF) “and other taxes are paid to the federal government -including 10 per cent with holding tax on the shareholders for every dividend declared.