Senate Backs Forensic Audit of Oando

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By Dipo Olowookere

The Nigerian Senate has thrown its full weight behind the forensic audit of Oando Plc, a leading oil firm in the country.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had made efforts to conduct the audit, but the company ran to a Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the process.

However, it lost this bid at the court because the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa, threw out the case for lack of jurisdiction, advising Oando to take the matter to an Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST), which has the powers to hear disputes arising from the capital market.

And just when observers thought the forensic audit would go on, Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, last week suspended the Director General of SEC, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, for allegedly rejecting to stop the exercise, as reports later claimed.

This incurred the wrath of stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market, who did not waste any time to call for the immediate sack of the Minister.

But latest information reaching Business Post showed that the Senate has supported the audit of Oando, emphasizing insisting that it would go a long way to boosting confidence of investors in the market.

Speaking on the matter today, Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Market, Mr Mustapha Bukar, said the forensic audit of Oando must go on.

“Certainly, the forensic audit of Oando must be done. If SEC has recommended in its report that the exercise should be conducted, then nothing should stop it whether the DG is suspended or not.

“Not doing this will have a negative impact on the market as well as the regulator, which is SEC and we do not need such now. We have to restore confidence of investors in the capital market and if the audit will achieve this, so be it.

“We (Senate) fully support it (forensic audit) and we would make our recommendation to the Senate on the matter. We will also investigate the link between the suspension of the DG and the Oando issue,” the lawmaker said when asked about the matter.

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