SEC: We Are Committed to Conducting Forensic Probe into Oando

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday restated its decision to conduct a forensic exercise into the activities of Oando Plc. The commission’s commitment to continue with the forensic audit was contained in a letter dated December 5, 2017 addressed to Oando Plc.

Although SEC did not disclose full content of the letter, it assured “the general public of its zero tolerance to infractions in the Nigerian capital market.

The suspension of the Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo last week by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had been linked to the commission’s decision to probe Oando Plc’s activities.

The minister however denied the allegation, saying Gwarzo’s suspension was to make way for an unhindered investigations into allegations of financial impropriety levelled against him.

SEC had last October directed the NSE to place Oando’s shares on full suspension for two days and place them on a technical suspension afterwards , following its probe into two petitions received from two shareholders of the company – Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal and Ansbury Inc.

The suspension, according to SEC, was to enable it to conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando, which has dual listing on the NSE and JSE.

SEC had explained that it carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions from Mangal and Ansbury and found a breach of the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007; breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies; suspected insider dealing; suspected related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length; and discrepancies in the shareholding structure of Oando Plc, among others. SEC said these findings were weighty and needed further investigation. Deloitte and the other firms were brought in to validate the probe already done by SEC for the past three months, adding that it is only after the audit by external experts that the commission would take a final decision on Oando.

Other experts appointed by SEC are registrar, United Securities Limited; the law firm, SPA Ajibade & Co; Tjadap Consulting and Associates; and Nasiru Muhammad & Co.

Meanwhile, the stock market sustained its rally, hitting a 37-month high. The NSE All-Share Index appreciated by 1.37 per cent to close at 38,494.43, bringing the year-to-date (YTD) gain to 43.2 per cent.

Analysts at Afrinvest West Africa said although the rally was broad-based, they attributed the positive performance mainly to gains in bellwethers –Dangote Cement (+1.7 per cent), Nigerian Breweries Plc (+3.4 per cent) GTBank (+0.7 per cent) and Zenith (+0.6 per cent).