No basis for SEC’s forensic audit, says Oando
Oando Plc has said there is no basis for the institution of a forensic audit of the company by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company said in a statement on Sunday that it had continued in its legal battle with SEC on the regulator’s alleged findings and sanctions following an investigation into the oil marketing firm, which began in May 2017.
The firm stated that it had gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge SEC’s technical suspension of its shares and a forensic audit into its affairs.
The company said in addition to the legal action, it had written several petitions to various arms of the government expressing concern at the way SEC, under the leadership of the suspended Director-General, Mounir Gwarzo, managed the investigation.
It alleged that the investigation was biased, did not follow due process and lacked fairness, citing the leaked September 18, 2017 report of the technical committee that was set up by Gwarzo to probe it as an evidence.
Oando stated, “The SEC claims that the actions it has taken are based on specific ‘findings’ it has made against the company. Yet, in a totally self-contradictory manner, SEC wants to embark on a forensic audit of the company to confirm the veracity or otherwise of its findings. This begs the question as to how definite findings (in its own words) could have been made when SEC itself admits that its investigation has not been concluded.
“If it has made reliable findings, why then is there a need for further investigation in respect of the same petitions? The company believes that we have the right to a fair hearing before judgment can be made. We have been denied this right but instead have been judged guilty and penalised; now evidence is being sought to justify actions taken by the commission.
“Despite our objections to the forensic audit, the company would like to reiterate that we recognise and respect the authority of the commission, and in the spirit of cooperation, transparency and full disclosure, the company will comply with the directives of the commission while reserving our legal rights in this matter.”
Oando welcomed the appointment of Dr. Abdul Zubair as the acting director-general of SEC, describing it as “an opportunity for the regulator to act independently and for a new and enduring relationship to be established.”
“We trust that he will investigate the matters raised in an independent and transparent manner and look forward to his support in ensuring that due process is indeed followed,” it added.