The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Sunday said that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard before they were penalised.
The commission said in Lagos that there were various opportunities by the company to defend themselves during the investigation by SEC and during the forensic audit.
“The attention of SEC has been drawn to various reports questioning the regulatory authority of the SEC, and insinuating lack of due process in the investigations of Oando Plc.
“To put the records straight, SEC hereby states that fair hearing is a paramount and fundamental principle which the Commission as a law-abiding agency adheres to in all its investigative processes.
“In the course of the investigations, communications e.g. letters and phone calls were exchanged and meetings held between the commission and Oando Plc, requesting for its comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations.
“The findings of the commission was communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017,” SEC said in a statement issued by its Head of Corporate Communications, by Efe Ebelo.
The commission said it subsequently engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a Forensic Audit of the activities of Oando Plc.
“In the course of conducting the forensic 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 audit.
“The commission confirms that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation.
“The responses given by Oando Plc, were, however, 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,” SEC said.
It added that these facts had been properly articulated in the court process it filed at the Federal High Court in response to the suit instituted by the Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc.
“As the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the commission has a mandate to protect investors,” it said.
SEC noted that its recent action on Oando Plc aligned with its cardinal mandate.
It said that 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 was to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value.
SEC said that the failure or refusal of the commission to act in the face of the serious issues thrown up by the investigations or to reverse its directive would undermine the Federal Government’s agenda to build strong institutions.
On June 2, following the outcome of a forensic audit, SEC constituted an interim management team headed by former boss of Shell, Mutiu Sunmonu to oversee the affairs of Oando and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on or before July 1, 2019 to appoint a new board of directors.
The regulatory body also said the new board of directors at the meeting would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.
The commission, however, reiterated its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the market.
On Monday last week, two directors of the embattled oil company — Sena Anthony and Oghogho Akpata — resigned over the protracted crisis.
Their resignation details were contained in the notice sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday.
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