- Oando Minority Shareholders Accuse SEC of Cover-up
Minority shareholders of Oando Plc under the aegis of the Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria have submitted a fresh petition to the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, accusing the Securities and Exchange Commission of shielding Oando Plc from probe.
The petition, signed by the National Coordinator and Legal Adviser, PROSAN, Mr. Taiwo Oderinde and Mr. Nnodu Okeke, respectively, was dated February 21, 2018 and titled: ‘Dangerous and Malicious Deliberate Attempts by the Acting Director-General, Securities And Exchange Commission to Cover Up Oando Nigeria Plc and Protect the Company from Forensic Audit’.
While commending the House committee for 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 petition stated in part, “Oando Nigeria Plc has for four years consecutively suffered incredible losses, with the loss in 2014 described as unprecedented in the history of capital market operations in Nigeria. While the company continues to record losses, the management has continued to increase the remuneration of Board members in a manner that insults and provokes the sensibility of investors that have committed their hard-earned funds into the company.
“The company has continued to accrue debt to the point that its liabilities have now surpassed its assets. In the same vein, the management of the company led by Mr. Adewale Tinubu resorted to selling the company’s assets in evidently questionable fashion as corroborated by the external auditors, Ernst & Young.
“According to the auditors’ note in the last annual report presented at the controversial Annual General Meeting held in Uyo, on September 11, 2017, the company is in a dying state and might cease to exist very soon. The auditors, Ernst & Young stated: ‘We are drawing attention to note 45 in the financial statements, which indicates that the company reported a comprehensive loss for the year of N33.9bn (2015 loss of N56.6bn) and as of that date, its current assets exceeded current liabilities by N14.6bn (2015: N32.8bn net current liability).
“The group recorded a comprehensive income of N112.4bn for the year ended December 31, 2016 (2015: loss N37.8bn) and as of that date, its current liability exceeded current assets by N263.8bn (2015: N260.4bn)”.
“As stated in the notes, these conditions, along with other matters, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the company (and the group’s) ability to continue as a going concern.”
PROSAN recalled that its earlier petition to the lawmakers on the state of Oando Plc prompted it to direct SEC to investigate various allegations against the oil giant.
It 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.
“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 will reveal more than is already known.”