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The importance of an effective regulatory body in a growing economy cannot be overemphasized. Hence the need for the Corporate Affairs Commission to function as such is a sine-qua-non to the provision of good legal principles that must be adhered to and effectively enforced in corporate governance. This research work, therefore covers the historical development of the Company and Allied Matter Act, its roles/functions and how it enforces the provisions of the Act. It also proffers suggestions to some challenges been faced by the Corporate Affairs Commission and re-commendations that would make them more potent as a regulatory authority.
The Corporate Affairs Commission hereinafter referred to as “the Commission” or CAC for short, is one of the major regulatory bodies of companies in Nigeria. The body is a creation that came into being by virtue of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (hereinafter referred to as CAMA) Cap 50, Laws of the
Federation of Nigeria, now Cap C20 of the Laws of the Federation, 2004. Principally, the Commission is one of the innovations of CAMA that gives the Commission the responsibility of incorporation of companies, registration of Business Names, Incorporation of Trustee of certain committees, bodies, associations and other regulations. CAMA also introduced Corporate audit Committee, insider trading,
codified the duties of directors, the fundamental principles emanated in the rules of Fossal Foss V Harbottle, the rule in Royal British Bank V Turguard.
Before the advent of CAC, the Companies Act of 1968 was the Act that regulated the activities of companies in Nigeria. The present CAMA was borne out of draft documents prepared by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission in an effort to reform and improve on the Companies Act of 1968, which could no longer address the various challenges associated with the regulation and supervision of Companies in Nigeria.
In the pre-oil boom era of the Nigerian Economy (1970-1979), the then company legislation was severally criticized. “…One of the major criticism of the Act is that, it is little more than the putting together of some Sections of the repealed Companies Act Cap 37 and some Sections of the U.K Companies Act 1948, instead of taking the bold step of codifying both the statutory and case law on companies…”
The preparation of such a code would have provided the opportunity for reviewing and modifying some of the more inconvenient common law rules.
In its Report on the reform of Nigeria Company Law 1988, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission commentary on the above inadequacy and some others observed that “with paucity of Nigerian cases on Company Law and the present heavy cost of obtaining English Law reports and textbooks, that difficulty in finding the law in this country can be well imagined…”
As a result of these numerous problems in our company laws as hitherto mentioned, the Nigerian Law Reform Commission was set up among other reasons “to evolve a comprehensive body of Legal Principles and Rules governing Companies and suitable for the circumstances of the country. These rules was to facilitate business activities in the country and protect the interest of the investors, the public
and of the nation as a whole”3
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