Goddy Egene with agency reports
Some shareholders of Oando Plc on Wednesday cautioned its management against moves to reconcile with Ansbury Investments Incorporated, owned by Mr. Gabriele Volpi.
The shareholders: Pacesetters Shareholders Association, Distinct Shareholders Association and Sage Shareholders, said their objection to the reconciliatory moves was based on an ongoing investigation of Volpi for alleged money laundering by Italian authorities.
The shareholders, in a joint statement in Lagos, recalled that Volpi who holds Nigerian and Italian citizenship, is currently under investigation in Italy for alleged tax evasion.
â€œThe investigation which is being conducted by the Italian Economic and Financial Crimes Police also focuses on Volpiâ€™s longtime associate, and popular Italian banker, Gaimpiero Fiorani,â€ said the statement.
It said Volpi must be on the right side of the law before any reconciliation with Oando, which the shareholders described as a law-abiding corporate institution.
â€œAll we are saying is that Volpi should do the right thing by sorting every issue he has with the law before seeking to reconcile with Oando.
â€œWe own Oando and make it mandatory on the board to resist any attempt to reconcile Volpi with our company while he has a case of fraud with the Italian authorities,â€ said the statement.
The shareholders said reconciling Ausbury and Oando may raise fundamental ethical questions on Oando and cause the Italian anti-corruption police to beam its searchlight on Oando.
â€œThis alone may affect not just the reputation of Oando but its share value,â€ they said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Inc. on, October . 20, 2017 filed a petition alleging infractions and mismanagement against the management of Oando.
Subsequently, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on the directive of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), placed a suspension on the trading of shares of Oando effective October 20.
It was followed with a forensic audit of the company but the suspension was lifted on April 12.
However, Oando in a statement on January . 22 said it had signed a peace accord with Mangal, one of the aggrieved shareholders, that earlier petitioned SEC.
It said as part of the settlement, Mangal had formally written to Oando informing the company of his significant shareholding, and withdrawal of his petition.
Since the lifting of suspension on the shares of Oando Plc, it has recorded significant appreciation. Besides, Oando Plc last year grew its profit after tax by 405 per cent to N19.77 billion, from N3.913 billion in 2016.