BY BAYO AMODU, Abuja
Shareholders of Oando Plc yesterday faulted the almost 19 years management structure of the company saying the current management has ‘overstayed’ and no longer serve the required purpose.
The aggrieved shareholders also advised the current management to step down in the interest of all stakeholders.
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had last week dismissed a case filed by Oando PLC against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seeking to stop SEC from conducting a forensic audit on the company and also lift a technical suspension placed on its shares.
The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa explained that the court lacked jurisdiction over the matter and advised Oando to take its case to the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST)
Under the aegis of Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSA), the shareholders argued that “when people overstay in places, they compromise their corporate integrity and what happened (at Oando) was that they stripped some of the major assets of the company, both downstream and upstream and sold them to cronies and to themselves.
Quoting auditors of the company, Ernst and Young, the National Chairman of TSA, Alhaji Mukhtar Mukhtar said “since the assets had been stripped, how would money come in? That is why you see that over the years, they stopped paying dividend, no capital appreciation, no bonuses to shareholders and yet management and board remunerations keep increasing”.
Explaining further, Mukhtar said: “If you remember from five-six years till date, Oando has not been a company, rather it has been a company in crisis, having lots of issues. The auditors appointed to audit Oando, having scrutinised its account, operations, expenses, finances and liabilities in relation to the asset of the company, came up with a very scary report, which tells everyone in clear terms that there are serious issues surrounding the company.
“That having scrutinised all its accounts, they came up with the report that the liabilities of that company have surpassed its total assets almost over N260 billion. The credible auditors with integrity gave their final verdict that the company or any of its subsidiaries cannot continue as a company. Once a company’s liabilities are greater than its assets, there is no company.
“Some of our members told the National Assembly and I helped protest in about two or three places calling on the regulators to act and the regulators acted with some compromises. Such a thing cannot be done in the US, Europe and Asia because the regulators are there to protect shareholders, not to protect the interest of few people in government who have been going to pressure the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to compromise.
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