The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Sunday said it offered the board and management of energy group- Oando Plc sufficient opportunities of being heard and to defend themselves during the initial investigation and the forensic Audit before its hammer fell.
The commission, in a statement, said Oando Plc’s responses were considered unsatisfactory, prompting the decision by the Commission to penalize it and some of the related individuals for violations of extant securities laws.
The clarification, the SEC continued, has become necessary in view of various reports questioning its regulatory authority, “and insinuating lack of due process in the investigations of Oando Plc.”
The regulatory action, it noted, “aligns with the above cardinal mandate, as the directive for the removal of persons from the board of Oando Plc and the appointment of an interim management team to temporarily steer the affairs of the company is to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value.”
Fair hearing, the SEC continued, remains a paramount and fundamental principle it adheres to as a law-abiding agency to in all its investigative processes, recalling that during the investigations, there were series of “letters and phone calls… exchanged and meetings held (with the company’s officials), requesting for comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations.”
In addition, the SEC statement averred that its findings were “communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017,” after which it engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the company’s activities.
SEC also recalled that while conducting the forensic audit, Deloitte & Touche equally held regular sessions with members of the board and senior management of Oando Plc, affording them the opportunity to provide explanations on issues relating to the audit.
“The Commission confirms that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation.
“The actions of the Commission were properly effected pursuant to the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations made pursuant to the ISA 2007,” the SEC said.
These facts, it stressed, have been properly articulated in the court process filed at the Federal High Court in response to the suit instituted by Jubril Adewale Tinubu and Omamofe Boyo, the Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive officer respectively of Oando Plc.
“Failure or refusal of the commission to act in the face of the serious issues thrown up by the investigations, or to reverse its directives, would undermine the Federal Government’s agenda to build strong institutions and promote the transparency and integrity of the Nigerian capital market, especially given that, these are preconditions for attracting foreign investors to the Nigerian capital market,” the SEC stressed further.