Following the directive given to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by the House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions to investigate allegations of financial impropriety and mismanagement of Oando Plc, shareholders of the company across Nigeria have warned the commission against any cover-up and actions that will be inimical to their interest.
The shareholders who stated this in a chat with newsmen in Lagos, stressed that they will use every legal means possible to protect their investment in the event that the SEC decides to give the management of Oando a soft landing.
The shareholders alleged that some of their colleagues were been used as conduit to reach out to SEC, and they are therefore calling on SEC to stay away from these elements who parade themselves as shareholders’ leaders.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, National Coordinator of Trusted Shareholders Association, Alhaji Muhktar Muhktar said the duty of regulators in any capital market is to protect the interest of shareholders and not management of corporations who deliberately toy with shareholders’ investment for their selfish gains.
He warned that shareholders from the northern part of the country will picket the SEC if urgent steps are not taken to address their plight.
According to him, “We have it on good authority that some people who parade themselves as shareholders are trying to influence the decision of SEC as regards our petition to the national assembly on the mismanagement of our company, Oando Plc.
“We will not take it. The annual report is there for everybody to see. We have observed for three good years now that the financial operations of Oando Plc were of worrisome critical matters that affect our investment. No dividend was paid since 2013 financial year. Critical financial management concern on our investment areas follow:
“External auditors of Oando Plc reported strong doubtful going concern of the group annual financial statement. The group has negative working capital of over N263 billion with current liabilities exceeding current assets.
“The petition further stated that the management of Oando was unable to service its financial obligations. The group has accumulated losses of over N159 billion in its balance sheet as at 2016 year end, “he said.
On his part, President of Renaissance Shareholders Association, Ambassador Olufemi Timothy alleged that the management of Oando is currently selling critical assets of the company.
He therefore called on SEC to do what is needful to restore investors’ confidence in the capital market.
“Management had been selling assets of the company, especially money-spinning assets such as downstream (Marketing) businesses without meaningful improvement in debts situation. It is planning to sell its share in OER which unfortunately is the last asset belonging to the company. We note that all actions were not enough to fully repay the outstanding debts. Management closed the year 2016 with consistent loss of over N768 billion; significantly worse than the year-end 2015.
“The net loss for the year from continuing operations in 2016 amounts to N25.8 billion as reported in the annual audited financial statement. We wish that you use your good offices, as a matter of urgency to save our investment in Oando Plc by looking into these matters, and cause an action to intervene in Oando Plc by removing the present management to allow for proper investigation of the corporate governance abuses and financial mismanagement as noticed in the published full year audited financial statement.
“We believe in the interest of fairness, justice and equity, the CEO, Mr. Wale Tinubu must vacate his seat to allow for proper investigation of all these allegations, corporate governance abuse and financial mismanagement. An independent new management must step in to save our investment in the interest of the integrity of the capital market and investor’s confidence, “he said.