SEC, Oando on war path over forensic audit report

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The ongoing feud between the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Oando Plc took a new twist yesterday as the oil firm tweeted that its management and Board of Directors remain unchanged, hours after the regulator announced an interim management team headed by Mr. Mutiu Olaniyi Adio Sunmonu, a former managing director of Shell.

This development came after some staff members of Oando Plc were forced to stay away from work as policemen stormed its head office on Monday.

No less than 10 battle ready policemen were seen blocking the entrance to Oando’s office on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island Lagos, yesterday when Daily Sun visited its Wing Office Complex. Security officers at the complex had also complained that some staff members of Oando were denied access to their office at the instance of their (security officers’) supervisors

SEC had in a statement yesterday, said an Interim Management Team headed by Mr. Mutiu Olaniyi Adio Sunmonu, will oversee the affairs of Oando Plc, and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019 to appoint new Directors to the Board of the Company, who would subsequently select a Management Team for Oando Plc.

But in a fresh twist, the Oil company vehemently refused to carry out the regulator’s order, accusing it of bias in the unfolding investigation and ruling on the outcome of the forensic audit. It added that the alleged infractions and penalties were unsubstantiated.

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“The rumour swirling round that the Oando’s Management Team and Board of Directors have changed today (Monday) is not true as we remain unchanged in that regard” the company tweeted.

Besides the tweet, Oando also got an injunction from a Federal High Court in Lagos restraining the Securities and Exchange Commission, from removing Messrs Wale Tinibu and Omamofe Boyo as Oando Plc’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (DGCEO), respectively.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun sitting in Lagos granted an interim injunction following an application by the embattled GCEO and DGCEO.

The oil company chiefs had applied for enforcement of their fundamental rights.

The court also restrained SEC, its servants or agents from taking any step concerning the Commission’s letter dated May 31, in which it barred Tinubu and Boyo from being directors of a public company for five years.

It also restrained the Commission from imposing a fine of N91.13 million on Tinubu.

It also ordered that SEC should restrain from all actions on the said letter pending hearing and determination of the applicants’ motion for an interlocutory injunction.

The court also restrained Mr Mutiu Sunmonu from acting as the Head of Oando’s interim management team pending the hearing and determination of the motion.

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It also urged the parties to maintain the status quo ante pending the determination of the motion.

The court adjourned the case until June 14.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Monday it had constituted an interim management team for the embattled oil firm headed by Mr. Mutiu Olaniyi Adio Sunmonu.

The new team is to oversee the affairs of Oando Plc, and conduct an Extraordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019 to appoint new Directors to the Board of the Company, who would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.

The move, according to the Commission is to maintain the integrity of the capital market.

The Commission at the weekend wielded the big stick after it finally concluded forensic investigations implicating Oando Plc over underhand dealings.

It directed among others things the resignation of the affected board members and barred the company’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Mr Wale Tinubu and his Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (DGCEO), Omamofe Boyo from being directors of public companies for a period of five years.

SEC’s decision has been described as a most soothing and welcome development by the shareholders of the company who have relentlessly protested against the board remaining in place when a forensic audit was ongoing.

SEC also directed the convening of an Extraordinary General Meeting on or before July 1, 2019, to appoint new directors.

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These among others, SEC stated, are part of measures to address identified violations in the company.

According to SEC, “Following the receipt of two petitions by the Commission in 2017, investigations were conducted into the activities of Oando Plc (a company listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges).

“Certain infractions of Securities and other relevant laws were observed. The Commission further engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.

“The general public is hereby notified of the conclusion of the investigations of Oando Plc. The findings from the report revealed serious infractions such as false disclosures, market abuses, misstatements in financial statements, internal control failures, and corporate governance lapses stemming from poor board oversight, irregular approval of directors’ remuneration, unjustified disbursements to directors and management of the company, related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length, amongst others”.

SEC also directed the payment of monetary penalties by the company and affected individuals and directors, and refund of improperly disbursed remuneration by the affected Board members to the company.

As required under Section 304 of the Investments and Securities Act, (ISA) 2007, the Commission said it would refer all issues with possible criminality to the appropriate criminal prosecuting authorities.

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