Following the lifting of the suspension placed on trading of the shares of petroleum marketing Oando Plc, on Tuesday by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) shareholders of the company have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to intervene in the crisis rocking the company.
It was learnt that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which had earlier directed the NSE to place the company’s shares on suspension, directed that the suspension be lifted immediately, without any reason given.
The suspension of the company’s shares had followed the petition by some shareholders of Oando to SEC that the management of the company had breached the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act 2007.
The Nigerian capital market apex regulator also said it suspected insider dealing, discrepancies in the shareholding structure of the company, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, and a breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies.
SEC received two petitions from Alhaji Dahiru Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated. The commission said it carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions and made the above findings among others.
Accusing the NSE and SEC of negligence on the matter with the lifting of the suspension on the company shares, shareholders under the aegis of Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Dedicated Shareholders, among others appealed to Buhari to intervene and “save Nigeria from further ridicule in the international community”.
Addressing Journalists in Lagos, the shareholders advised President Buhari to intervene and stop the impression around the world “that corruption is alive in Nigeria”.
The Group accused the current leadership of SEC of “doing nothing concerning the Oando issue”.
But in a swift reaction, a source at SEC who pleaded anonymity said the Audit “was on and will be concluded without fear or favour.”
National Coordinator, PROSAN, Taiwo Oderinde said: “Contrary to the impression out there, the Forensic Audit is not on. They are only buying time. Poor and helpless Nigeria shareholders are suffering and dying with SEC doing nothing to help them”.
He added: “The problem is SEC. They are not doing their job. SEC report indicted Oando management. The management should be remove 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”.
Speaking on behalf of Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mukhtar Mukhtar 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 appealed to President Buhari, the National Assembly to help shareholders of the company recover their investment.
Already, the shareholders have petitioned the House Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, accusing the SEC of shielding Oando Plc from probe.
The petition is dated February 21, 2018 and titled ‘Dangerous and Malicious Deliberate Attempts By the acting Director-General, SEC to Cover-up Oando Nigeria Plc and Protect the Company from Forensic Audit’.
While commending the House Committee on its unrelenting efforts to sanitise the Nigerian capital market and to make it one of the best in the world, PROSAN said the time had come to take decisive action on the forensic audit of Oando Plc.
The shareholders further added: “Being the regulator that is primarily responsible for protecting Investors in the Capital market, SEC instituted a consortium of experts commissioned to carry out a forensic audit on the company.”
They alleged: “Upon the announcement of the consortium, the management of Oando Nigeria Plc has continued to desperately explore diverse avenues to frustrate the forensic audit, which the management of the company clearly fears would reveal more than is already known.
“The company sought to stop the forensic audit by challenging the decision in court, but appropriate justice was delivered and the company lost,” the petition stated.
“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.”