By Dipo Olowookere
Shareholders of Oando Plc under the umbrella of Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG) have maintained that the planned forensic audit of the company by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) must continue despite the peace accord between the oil firm and Mr Dahiru Mangal, one of the shareholders, who wrote a petition to SEC against Oando.
Making their position known in a statement issued on Tuesday, the shareholders, under the leadership of Mr Clement Ebitimi, emphasised that the exercise must not be thrown away because Mr Mangal has settled with the leadership of Oando.
This month, a respected Northern monarch and former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Emir Muhammadu Sanusu of Kano, brokered a peace between Mr Mangal and Mr Adewale Tinubu, the Group CEO of Oando.
As part of the agreement, Mr Mangal dropped his case against Oando at SEC, while the oil firm gave him a slot in the board.
The shareholders said they have no problem with the peace accord, but the forensic audit must continue as earlier planned.
Mr Ebitimi said in the statement that, “For the avoidance of doubt, the forensic audit of Oando ordered by SEC is not about Alhaji Dahiru Mangal. The audit is about series of infractions of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 uncovered in the company by a preliminary investigation ordered by SEC.
“SEC’s preliminary findings established serious concern to the existence of corporate governance, gross abuse of corporate governance and series of manipulations and financial management in Oando Plc.
“The alleged infractions include breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance; Breach of ISA 2007 on Disposal of Oando Exploration & Production Limited (OEPL) by Oando Plc 2013; Breach of ISA 2007: Misstatements in the 2013 and 2014 Audited financial statement of Oando Plc arising from the OEPL transaction; Breach of ISA on Misleading Information contained in Oando Plc’s 2014 Rights Issue Circular; Breach of SEC Rules and Regulations on Payment of Dividends; and the Auditor’s doubt over the ability of Oando to continue as a Going Concern.
“SEC’s preliminary investigation also unearthed suspected insider dealing, in which the Commission observed that certain persons classified as insiders within the provisions of Section 315 of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and who were in possession of confidential price sensitive information not generally available to the public, had between January and October 2015, traded on Oando Plc shares prior to the release of the company’s 2014 Financial Statement, where the company reported a loss of N183 billion.”
He further argued that a letter written by SEC to Oando on October 17, 2017, also established instances of related party transactions where the Commission identified certain related party transactions and observed that they were not conducted on arm’s length basis as required by law.
“According to SEC’s findings, Oando also declared dividend in 2013 and 2014 from unrealised profits,” the OSSG Coordinator said, adding that the allegations against the company are weighty and are not about a shareholder.
“The House of Representatives has issued a clear directive to SEC to investigate these infractions.
“The Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, in exonerating herself from attempts to stall the forensic audit, has also stated that the Oando management has a case to answer with regards to infractions of the ISA 2007.
“We hereby call on Emir Muhammadu Sanusi not to interfere in the legitimate process of instilling sanity in Oando and in the capital market.
“When he meted out severe disciplinary measures against some bank CEOs in the banking industry during his tenure as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor in 2009, no one interfered with his job.
“SEC’s primary role as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market is to regulate market participants and protect the investing public. This must not be compromised by any means.
“The Commission rightly noted that its earlier findings are weighty and therefore needs to be further investigated to ascertain their veracity or otherwise; hence the forensic audit.
“Shareholders deserve to know the true state of affairs of their company. Investors are watching; the world is watching and we will not allow this matter to rest until the right thing is done.”
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