Oando: Concerns Mount over Non-release of Forensic Report

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• SEC executives meet today over court order, plan next move

Goddy Egene

As the executive management of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) meets today to decide the way forward on Oando Plc after a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos suspended the sanctions the capital market regulators imposed on the company for alleged infractions, stakeholders have raised concerns over the failure of the commission to release the forensic report upon which it based its decisions.

Stakeholders, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity yesterday, said it was strange that the forensic report, which the SEC used to make such far-reaching decisions has remained under wraps, wondering why the regulatory body would not make it public.

“It is difficult to understand why a regulatory body would keep such a report secret even when it went public with serious indictment of an entire board of a publicly quoted company,” a source said, pointing out that it was doubtful if SEC had the power to remove members of the board of a company without reference to its shareholders.

He said it would be helpful if SEC could cite the section of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) that gives it the power to make the decision it had made on Oando Plc.

Another source spoke about the fairness of the process, asking to know if the affected company executives and board members were given copies of the report before they were shunted aside.

According to him, SEC’s order for an Annual General Meeting on July 1, without making the report public is like asking the shareholders to grope in the dark. “With what are they suppose to make their decisions at the meeting,” he asked.

A top official of SEC had, however, confided in THISDAY yesterday that the regulator would meet today to review the situation and take a position on how to handle the latest developments.

“The management of SEC will meet on Wednesday (today) to decide to way forward,” the source said.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday had ordered SEC to halt the sanctions, which included the removal of Oando Plc Group Managing Director, Mr. Wale Tinubu, his deputy, Mr. Omamofe Boyo, and the constitution of an Interim Management Team, headed by Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, to take over the running of the company.

The order also affected SEC’s decision barring Tinubu and Boyo from being directors of public companies for a period of five years and the imposition of N91,125,000 on Tinubu.

Justice Olatoregun, ruling in an ex-parte motion filed by Tinubu and Boyo, through their lawyer, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), ordered all the parties to the suit to maintain the status quo.

The judge had adjourned the case till June 14 for further hearing.

Last Friday, SEC had in the aftermath of the sacking of Tinubu and Boyo, constituted the interim management headed by Sunmonu to oversee the affairs of Oando Plc and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019.

The regulatory commission not only barred Tinubu and Boyo from holding director positions of public companies for a minimum of five years, it also ordered other directors of the company to resign their positions immediately.

However, Tinubu and Boyo, who rejected the sanctions sought a redress in the court where Justice Olatoregun granted all their prayers.

The judge ordered that the order be served on the commission alone with the motion on notice, as well as other processes.

The judge directed the applicants to file an undertaking indemnifying the commission in case it later turns out that the orders ought not to have been made.

The respondents in the suit are SEC and Sunmonu as the first and second respondents respectively.

Also on the same day the judge gave the ruling, a detachment of policemen laid siege to the Lagos head office of the oil and gas company to enforce SEC’s removal of Tinubu and Boyo, that was announced last weekend.