Oando Withdraws Suit Against SEC as Forensic Probe Resumes

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The much-awaited forensic audit of Oando Plc by a consortium auditors led by Akintola Williams Deloitte is about to begin.

This is because the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has written to the firm to commence the exercise as soon as possible.

Addressing newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja, Acting Director-General of SEC, Mr Abdul Zubair, explained that the audit can now begin since Oando has withdrawn the two suits filed against the apex capital market regulator.

“Following the dismissal and striking out of the suits, SEC has duly informed the firm of [Akintola Williams] Deloitte to proceed with the forensic audit.

“The commission is committed to its primary mandate of protecting investors and will take all necessary steps to fulfil that mandate and uphold the integrity of the capital market,” Mr Zubair informed journalists yesterday.

According to him, the pending lawsuit against the commission was by an application heard and granted by the Court of Appeal on March 5, 2017.

The SEC chief further said that the application for withdrawal by the shareholders was heard and granted by the Federal High Court on Feb. 21.

Though Mr Zubair did not give a specific time frame for the completion of the audit, he assured that it would be done in the shortest possible time.

However, he assured all stakeholders that the exercise would be conducted in a transparent and thorough manner.

Furthermore, he said the commission will continue to preserve the shareholders’ value and protect the investing public.

According to him, the exercise would have been concluded a long time, but for the two lawsuits instituted to stop the process.

“The two law suits were filed by Oando Plc and some shareholders of the company to restrain SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) from effecting a technical suspension on the shares of Oando.

“The lawsuits were also intended to stop SEC from appointing a team of forensic auditors to conduct a forensic audit of the company.

“But now that the suits have been struck out, we can now commence the forensic audit,” Mr Zubair said.

SEC had received petitions against Oando Plc from its shareholders, who accused the oil firm of gross misconduct.

A panel was set up by the commission to look into the allegations and it was discovered that Oando violated some market rules, which led to the technical suspension of the shares of Oando at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

A team of experts was later appointed to conduct a forensic audit on the company’s books, but Oando kicked against this at the court.

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