By Dipo Olowookere
The management of one of the leading energy firms in Nigeria, Oando Plc, has confirmed that the team of forensic auditors appointed to scrutinise its books have commenced the exercise.
Oando made this confirmation last week in a statement signed by both its Chief Compliance Officer & Company Secretary, Ayotola Jagun, and the Head of Corporate Communications, Alero Balogun.
In the statement, the Adewale Tinubu-led firm said it was already cooperating with the auditors led by Deloitte Nigeria.
Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced commencing a forensic audit of affairs at Oando.
This came after the capital market regulator found the company guilty of some market violations, including allegedly lying in its financial statements.
As a result, SEC placed a technical suspension on the shares of Oando, making it impossible for securities of the firm traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to experience price movement.
When the audit was announced, the management of Oando approached a High Court in Lagos to stop the exercise.
However, the court directed Oando to the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST), the court established to entertain capital market disputes.
Last week, some shareholders of the firm appealed to Federal Government to intervene in the crisis and hours later, the suspension on Oando was lifted and its shares began full trading at the stock market.
But another set of shareholders of Oando threatened to sue SEC over lifting of the suspension, accusing the regulator of trying to stop the forensic audit and shield the management from punishment.
However, in the statement issued last week, Oando said the exercise was “currently underway.”
“The forensic audit into the affairs of the company is currently underway by Deloitte Nigeria (Deloitte), the SEC appointed forensic team lead.
“To date, the company has been fully cooperative with both the SEC and Deloitte.
“In the spirit of goodwill, transparency and full disclosure, we will continue to cooperate with the SEC and its nominated parties in the discharge of their duties as the capital markets regulator during this exercise.
“We are hopeful that the forensic audit will have limited impact on the day-to-day operations of the business and we look forward to a swift and smooth conclusion by the SEC,” the statement jointly signed by Jagun and Balogun said.
On impact the lifting of the technical suspension will have on Oando, the statement stocks of the firm will “now experience price movements in response to competitive forces of demand and supply in line with the NSE’s trading rules.”
Oando described this as “good news for the company and all its shareholders will restore and boost investor confidence in the market.”
Oando shares, which was frozen at N5.99k per share by SEC last year, closed at N6.60k on the first day of lifting the technical suspension.
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