Shareholders Vow to Resist Attempt to Lift Ban on Oando Shares

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Nosa Alekhuogie

Shareholder groups under the aegis of the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN) and the Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG) have again accused the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of frustrating the forensic audit of Oando Plc.

They also vowed to resist attempts by SEC to lift the ban on the shares of the embattled oil firm on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) through the back door, pointing out that the current leadership of the SEC has not taken any proactive step to resolve the Oando crisis.

Specifically, the coordinator of OSSG, Clement Ebitimi, alleged that the SEC leadership has shown ineptitude in handling the crisis rocking the oil firm. He vowed that the shareholder would commence a legal action against SEC and the NSE in the event that the technical suspension on Oando shares is lifted without first concluding the forensic audit.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to intervene in the interest of Nigerians and the larger economy.

On his part, the National Coordinator of PROSAN, Taiwo Oderinde said: “Contrary to the impression out there, the forensic audit of Oando ordered since last year by SEC is not being done. They are only buying time. Poor and helpless Nigeria shareholders are suffering and dying with SEC doing nothing to help them.”

Furthermore, he added: “The problem is SEC; the Commission is not doing what it is supposed to do. SEC report indicted Oando management. The management should be removed for the audit to take place. This is a management that has been in place for over 19 years. After the audit, if they are innocent, they will be restored to their position”.

National President of the Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN), Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar, who spoke on behalf of other shareholders, said: “We have discovered that no forensic audit is going on. The agenda of SEC is very clear. They want to buy time. The Acting Director-General is afraid to do his job. How can the management of a company your report has indicted continue in their position.”

He called on President Buhari and the National Assembly to wade into the matter, with a view to ensuring that the shareholders of the company to preserve their investment.

According to him, shareholders had petitioned the House Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of shielding Oando Plc from probe.

The petition is dated February 21, 2018, was titled “Dangerous and Malicious Deliberate Attempts By the acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to Cover Up Oando Nigeria Plc and Protect the Company from Forensic Audit”.

“Since Mr. Munir Gwarzo was suspended as the Director-General of SEC by the Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun on November 29, 2017, the present management has shown a lack of willingness to continue with the forensic audit of Oando as directed by the lawmakers.”

He said preliminaries findings by SEC had revealed gross financial mismanagement, insider trading and abuse of corporate governance in Oando, while the auditors of the company, Ernst & Young, in the company’s 2016 audited account, expressed reservation over the ability of the company to continue as a going concern because its liabilities was in excess of its assets.