Oando saga: SEC defends ruling to Federal High Court

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it followed due process in the investigations of Oando PLC, and has presented facts to the Federal High Court in response to the suit instituted by the Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive officer of the company.

In a statement by the commission, it was noted that as against allegations fair hearing is a paramount and fundamental principle, which the Commission as a law-abiding agency adheres to in all its investigative processes.

It further noted that in the course of the investigations, communications such as letters and phone calls were exchanged and meetings were held between the Commission and Oando Plc, requesting for its comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations, after which the findings of the Commission was communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017.

Subsequent to the findings, the regulatory body said it engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.

“In the course of conducting the audit, Deloitte & Touche held regular sessions with members of the Board and senior management of Oando Plc, and afforded them the opportunity to provide explanations on issues relating to the investigation,” the statement said.

The Commission confirmed that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation.

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However, it noted that the responses given by Oando Plc, considered unsatisfactory; prompting, the decision by the Commission to penalise the company and some of the individuals related to it for violations of securities laws.

“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 Commission reiterated that its recent action on Oando Plc aligns with the 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.

It argued that 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.

It will be recalled that a Federal High Court in Lagos had granted Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive officer ofOando PLC, Adewale Tinubu and Omomafe Mofo an injunction against the rulings of the Securities and Exchange Commission on the outcome of the forensic audit carried out into the affairs of the company, which among others, axed the duo from office as well as barring  them from being director of public companies for a period of five years