By Dipo Olowookere
The technical suspension placed on shares of Oando Plc by the management of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has been lifted.
The JSE had placed the embargo on Oando following a similar action on the energy group in October 2017 by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) after a directive from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
But last week, the Nigerian capital market regulator removed the ban, allowing Oando shares to experience price movements.
In a notice to shareholders of Oando, the JSE explained that it was lifting the ban after its Nigerian counterpart had done so.
“Oando Plc shareholders are referred to the announcement released on the Stock Exchange News Service at 11h29 this morning (April 12, 2018) advising the lifting of the technical suspension on the company’s shares on its primary listing, the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
“The JSE will accordingly lift the suspension in trade in the company’s shares with effect from commencement of business tomorrow, 13 April 2018.
“Shareholders are further advised that there is no price sensitive information to be released prior to the lifting of the suspension on the JSE,” the notice titled ‘Oando Plc – lifting of suspension of trade in shares on the JSE Limited’ stated.
Meanwhile, shareholders of Oando have asked for the immediate sack of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, for what they described as her unwholesome interference on the affairs of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
They described the minister’s decision to reassigns portfolios in SEC as “unnecessarily meddling” with the functions of the commission, which has caused severe damage to the capital market.
Specifically, the National President of Trusted Shareholders Association of Nigeria (TSAN), Mr Mukhtar Ismail Mukhtar; the National Coordinator, Proactive Shareholders Association (PROSAN), Mr Taiwo Oderinde; and the Coordinator, Oando Shareholders Solidarity Group (OSSG), Mr Clement Ebitimi, in a joint statement on Sunday, said Mrs Adeosun has inevitably caused untold harm both to the independence of SEC and the nation’s capital market in her desperate attempt to shield Oando from probe.
“We wish to bring the attention of His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and all Nigerians to the unwholesome, unpatriotic and strange actions of the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun with regards to the probe of Oando Plc,” they said.
Speaking on behalf of the groups, Mr Oderinde said: “You may recall that since early last year, Oando has been enmeshed in series of crises bordering on abuse of corporate governance and alleged gross financial mismanagement.
“The internal auditors of Oando Plc, Messrs Ernst & Young, in the company’s financial report last year expressed doubts over its ability to continue as a going concern because its liabilities exceeded its assets.
“As concerned shareholders, we sent petitions to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and to the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market.
“The committee mandated SEC to investigate these allegations, culminating in the setting up of a committee by SEC to carry out a preliminary investigation of the company’s affairs.
“SEC’s preliminarily investigation, as disclosed by the commission in a letter dated October 17, 2017 signed by its Head of Legal unit, Braimoh Anastasia, unearthed several malpractices in the company.
These include insider trading, decoration of dividends from unrealised profits, release of false financial statements to the public and the disposal of assets without the knowledge of the regulatory body in contravention of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, among several other infractions.
“These weighty findings compelled the suspension of Oando shares on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to pave way for a more thorough investigation.”
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