Oando Crisis: Investors protest forensic audit delay

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Some investors in Oando Plc, under the umbrella of the Trusted Shareholders’ Association (TSA) and the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) respectively on Wednesday, in Abuja protested the delay in the commencement of the forensic audit of Oando by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The shareholders, who took to the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, headed for the National Assembly with the hopes that the assembly would take the necessary steps to ensure the audit takes place and in time.

Mukhtar Mukhtar, chairman of the TSA, said the reason for the protest was ”to air their grievances”.

He said “we cannot allow regulatory infractions to go unpunished, we cannot allow financial mismanagement to go scot-free.

“We can’t understand now why the SEC with the active connivance of the minister of finance are trying to truncate the process. They keep on telling us that the forensic audit is still ongoing, that they still agree with it but nothing is happening. Nothing tangible has been followed up, there is nothing taking place.”

While the chairman lamented the number of years the management of Oando had stayed (19 and a half years), he called for a change of the management board.

He also claimed the management had appropriated some of the company’s subsidiaries, both upstream and downstream for themselves and their cronies at prices based on their estimations.

The National Coordinator of the PSAN, Oderinde Taiwo, said Oando was ”exposed to both local and foreign loans worth about N779 billion on which an interest of N15 billion was paid”.

According to the coordinator, it was ”a show of the level of recklessness of the organisation.”

“We bought the last right issue they did at N98 and the right issue listed before the suspension stood at N4.95. When you see such a change you know that there are a lot of problems. Many of the shareholders have died with Oando doing all these things, they have killed some people directly or indirectly

“We have come to the National Assembly because we discovered that the SEC under the present acting director general has been compromised. The man does not act confidently again, they are not forthcoming, they are just dodging.

“Let the CEO of Oando and his management team be suspended so the forensic audit can go unhindered, you can’t do a forensic audit without suspending the management of the company,” he said.

On October 18, 2017 the SEC ordered a forensic audit of Oando’s affairs following petitions from two of the company’s shareholders, through Ansbury Incorporated, over alleged ‘insider dealings’ and ‘manipulation of the company’s shareholding structure’ in breach of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 and the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies.

In November, former Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, was suspended reportedly because of the Oando crisis.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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