The Chairman, Oando Plc and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, has alleged bias and lack of adherence to due process in the way and manner in which the Securities and Exchange Commission has conducted its investigation of the allegations levelled against the company.
Oba Gbadebo communicated his reservation in a letter sent to the Director-General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo.
According to Oando, the chairman requested to be allowed to present the company’s case, but was denied audience.
“The chairman asked to be granted an audience to present the company’s case, a request that the SEC repeatedly denied, while the regulator has granted an audience to Ansbury Inc and gone so far as to offer what is tantamount to legal advice to them,” Oando claimed in one of its responses to the SEC allegations.
Oando stated, “The most recent action taken by the regulator confirms that the commission appears to be working to its own conclusion rather than looking at the facts before it, and acting in the best interests of the company and the minority shareholders whom it claims it seeks to protect.
“To further reinforce the company’s strong reservations with the SEC’s findings, a second statement was issued. The statement outlined all of the alleged infractions identified by the SEC and details the company’s position, for the most part disagreeing with SEC’s pronouncements.
“Oando went so far as to highlight the prescribed penalties as set out by the regulators for the said infractions, none of which singularly or together warrant the institution of a forensic audit, full or technical suspension of trading of the company’s shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.”
The company added that it did not believe that the SEC had presented a strong enough case to support the engagement of a forensic auditor to conduct a forensic audit into the company’s affairs, while highlighting reasons to support the belief.
The reasons, Oando said, include “the SEC requesting a forensic audit in order to investigate whether its findings are true, which is a clear contradiction. How did the SEC arrive at its findings if it cannot be sure of the veracity of those findings, and, more importantly, how did it ascribe the appropriate level of weight to be given to those findings, enough to warrant an immediate suspension followed by a technical suspension of the shares of the company, especially if those findings are still mere allegations at this point, as the commission has clearly communicated?”
In a letter from the SEC, the commission informed Oando that the N160m cost of the forensic audit would be borne by the company, to which Oando responded by saying that “this must be an error in light of all its submissions to date, and not the best use of shareholder funds at this time.”
Oando highlighted that in the letter sent to it by the SEC, both the petitioners were copied, Alhaji Mangal and Ansbury Inc, stressing that “the company has rightly stated that it is unheard of and prejudicial for petitioners to be copied on correspondence to the investigated party on findings yet to be concluded.
“It is unclear how the SEC will respond to the allegations against it on the basis of bias, but one thing is evident from the press statement issued by the company, Oando has taken a different and bold stance to challenge the commission.”
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