By Omotilewa Quadri
A group of aggrieved shareholders of Oando Nigeria Plc, yesterday staged a peaceful protest to the National Assembly requesting that the management of the company led by Wale Tinubu should step aside.
According to the shareholders, such a step will allow for the forensic audit of the company initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The protesters, which consist of members of Trusted Shareholders Association, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, among others, while expressing fears that the audit initiated by the minister may not come out with any meaningful outcome, call for the sack of the management of the company to pave way for thorough investigation.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market and other Institutions, the associations demanded that, “The management of Oando Nigeria Plc led by Wale Tinubu should step aside until the forensic audit is released to the public so as to pave way for an unhindered forensic audit.”
While alleging that the audit set-up by the minister is a ploy to protect her friends in Oando, the shareholders also charged the House Committee to urgently invite the acting director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to ascertain the authenticity of the forensic audit set-up to investigate the company.
Also speaking to journalists during the protest, yesterday, the National coordinator, Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Oderinde Taiwo said, “We believe the minister is clearly working to protect her friends in Oando Plc from the impending embarrassment that findings from the forensic audit may cause them.
Referring to the suspension of the former director-general of SEC, Dr. Munir Gwarzo as a ground design to pave way for the said protection bid, he said, “We also fear that the suspension of the director-general is a clear attempt to frustrate the forensic audit.’’
Similarly, the chairman, Trusted Shareholders Association, Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar, said the group was convinced that SEC, under the acting DG, Dr. Abdul Zubair is only buying time by instituting a new forensic audit.
He expressed anger that while shareholders of the company are dying without getting returns from their investments, the company’s management members are acquiring new expensive automobiles and private jets.
“Many of our members have become victims of hypertension watching their investments tumble without any hope to salvage same in sight,” he said.
He stated that the global practice is that when forensic audit is being carried out on a company, the management of the company will step-aside to give room for thorough investigation without any interference.
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