Operators Laud SEC’s Oando Plc Audit Outcome, Seek FG Intervention

Capital market operators on Wednesday urged the Federal Government to urgently intervene in the ongoing Oando-Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) saga, just as they applauded the capital market regulator’s courage to publish outcome of the audit.
They spoke in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, following last week’s release of the outcome of a forensic audit on Oando released by SEC on May 31 and the sacking Oando’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Adewale Tinubu, and Omamofe Boyo, his deputy and the events thereafter.
According to Ambrose Omordion, Chief Operating Officer, Investdata Consulting Limited, said the Federal Government’s intervention is necessary at this time to safeguard investor confidence.
The unfolding events, he believes, could dampen investors confidence and tamper with Nigeria’s integrity, adding that the international investment community was watching to see the manner the Oando issue would be handled.
“The way SEC and government will handle this issue will go a long way to determine the success of the nation’s drive for financial inclusion and attraction of new retail investors and foreign investors returning to the market,” Omorodion state.
He also agreed on the urgent need for the government to strengthen the commission by ensuring the appointment of its board members soon.
Omorodion expressed disappointment that SEC had been operating without a board for over four years and an acting director-general for over a year.
On his part, Moses Igbrude, Publicity Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, alleged that shareholders had suffered enough loss in Oando with no dividend and poor market pricing.
Igbrude said that court injunction could lead to long legal battles which could further affect the company’s shares price on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), following which he urged the exchange to place the share price on technical suspension to protect investors from further loss.
The shareholder activist said that SEC should not allow its authority to be undermined if the outcome of the forensic audit was true.
“I will appeal to whoever is affected to obey the directives from SEC for the sake of our investments.
“Oando as a company has suffered enough of reputational risk, adding that shareholders, for a long time, have not been paid dividend,” Igbrude said.
Boniface Okezie, national chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), told NAN: “The grass suffers when two elephants fight.”
Okezie said that SEC and Oando must maintain the peace in the interest of all stakeholders, especially retail investors, even as he commended the commission for protecting investors.
He challenged the commission to beam its searchlight on other oil companies quoted on the exchange.
Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, said that Oando saga needed a holistic approach to restoring confidence.
“Oando saga is a big issue in the Nigerian capital market that needs a holistic approach if really we are going to adhere to the truth of corporate governance,” Mikali said.
He said that the action of SEC was in the right direction and aimed at protecting the interest of Oando shareholders.
“Foreign investors are watching the drama and local shareholders and stakeholders are also waiting,” Mikali stressing that the outcome of the saga would determine the direction of the capital market.
Recall that following submission of the audit report, the SEC, on June 2, 2019, the SEC constituted an interim management team to be headed by Mutiu Sunmonu, former managing director of Shell Petroleum Development Company for Oando Plc. As part of the task, the interim management is to oversee affairs of the company and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) by July 1, to appoint new board of directors.
The commission said that the new board of directors would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc, while reiterating its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the market.
However, a Federal High Court in Lagos on June 3, granted an interim injunction restraining SEC from executing the interim management plan in Oando, following a court injunction obtained by Tinubu and his deputy, Mr Omamofe Boyo.
The court also restrained SEC from imposing a fine of N91.13m on Tinubu, and barring him and Boyo from being directors of public companies in the Nigerian capital market for the next five years.