Fear Grip CEOs Of Quoted Companies, As SEC Sack Tinubu And Boyo, Directors Of OANDO plc

By Stephen Ubanna

Until last March, nobody knew that OANDO, One of the leading  Petroleum  Marketing Companies  listed  in the Capital Market, by the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC,  announced  a 2019, was under investigation by the Commission that may soon be exposed .

Indeed, the Wale Tinubu, a  brother of Ahmed Bola Tinubu a former governor of Lagos state and National  leader of the All Progressive Congress, APC, and political ally of President Muhammadu Buhari, has played into the hand of  SEC officials. It was a matter of time before the sledge hammer would fall on him and other Directors of the Company.

Note that the Tinubu led OANDO Board of Directors  had  announced  a profit  N4.6 billion  in its trading results  between January and March, 2019. The superlative performance enthused  the Company  Shareholders  who gave them the nod to continue .   and The Capital Market regulatory Commission officials were also encouraged  by the trading result that it urged other trading Companies  to step up their trading  to improve on their  profit making.

Unknown to many , the  Tinubu led Petroleum Marketing Company had been under Investigation over its  activities  since since 2017, over alleged infractions and it was a matter of time for the bubble to burst and the culprits exposed.  

Trouble was said to have started for the Company , with the  two petitions allegedly  forwarded to SEC , by aggrieved Staff in 2017, over the illegal activities of the Company   ranging from  false disclosure of trading activities,  market abuses, misstatements  in financial statements, internal control failures, and Corporate governance lapses.  T he Company Board , had been accused   of poor oversight , irregular approval of Directors remuneration, unjustified disbursement to Directors and management of the Company and related transactions  which were conducted  secretly.

Acting on the petitions,  the Commission was said to have engaged the services of   Deloitte and Touche, a reputable Audit firm  to carry out a forensic Audit of the Company. The Value News learnt there were attempts to penetrate the ranks of theAuditing the firm but no luck  as the external Auditors  did  their work as it ought to be done.   The report of the External Auditors was not different from the allegations of the petitioners  as they found that there was  noticeable infractions in the running of the Company by the Tunubu  led Management Team and Board of Directors.

Angered by the  report of the External  Auditors, SEC, has no option by apply the sledge hammer on Tinubu, the Group Chief Executive officer and  Omamofe Boyo,  the Company Group Chief Executive Officer.

 A Statement by the Commission on Friday , May 31, 2019,  confirmed the suspension of  Tinubu, the Company  Chief Executive Officer and  Boyo, the  Deputy  Group Chief Executive Officer and from being Directors of the Company and other publicly quoted Companies for five tears.  This  is bad news for  the leading  Boardroom  politician  to be sent packing by SEC.  The former OANDO  pc troubles with SEC,  may have informed  why he  was visibly absent at  the Katsina state born Nigerian President  inauguration  on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, an event that was attended by Aliko Dangote, a multi-billionaire business  mogul  and President , Dangote Group of Companies , Femi Otedola,  another notable Board politician , among others.  

Trouble may not be over  yet for the Company as the Commission was said to have also taken  other far reaching  decisions against the trading Petroleum Products trading Outfit  which include forcing  the suspended Directors   to resign from the Company’s Board and  equally ordered  it   to convene  an ”extra  -ordinary general meeting, AGM,   on or before July 1, 2019, to appoint new Directors to replace the sacked ones. This is in addition to forcing the Company to pay monetary befits   the aggrieve Staff and Directors who had opened up on the Company  . 

Capital Market watchers believe that the suspension of the OANDO  Directors have sent a signal to  other  Chief Executives of publicly quoted Companies listed in the Capital  Market that SEC  officials are watching their activities and could descend on them at anytime  if found wanting.

 Malam Shehu Mikail, National President, Constance Shareholders  Association of Nigeria,  is optimistic that the action taken by SEC against OANDO plc,  would go a long way to instill ”transparency and good Corporate governance  in the nation’s Capital Market.

An aggrieve Mikail  disclosed that  many  quoted Companies  had collapsed over the years  due to ”lack of transparency  and  good Corporate governance. H e gave kudos to the Commission, urging it to go all out and  deal with other quoted  Companies Chief Executive Officers  who  had committed the same offence and even worse in the respective Companies and deal with them to bring sanity in the nation’s Capital  market. 

Ambrose Omordion, Chief Executive  officer, Invest Data ltd , who could not hide his feelings  reportedly said that   the outcome of  the forensic Audit  of the OANDO  plc , and the actions taken by the Commission was an indication that  ” it could no bark but bite”.

Omordion is right as fear  appears to have gripped the Chief Executive officers  of most  of the listed Companies in the Capital Market that they may go the same way as Tinubu,  the OANDO  plc boss and his Deputy Group Chief Executive officer.

Wale Tinubu: Former CEO, OANDO plc

Recall that in taking the tough decisions against  Oando plc, and their two key officials,  SEC officials had said that  the implementation  of the  dircetives and introduction of some  remedial measures about the running of quoted Companies,  unwholesome practices by some  public  quoted Companies  Directors  would be significantly reduced to the barest minimum.

Note  that it has been  the intention  of  President Buhari,  to build strong institutions  that could do their job without looking back . It is not surprising why  the Commission has enjoined  Board of Directors of listed Companies in the Capital Market   to properly perform their  statutory duties  as required  under extant  securities laws  to avoid running into troubles.

 But the OANDO plc management would not  agree with SEC  decision against its two  major Directors as it has vowed” to  take all the legal steps to  protect its business and assets” to avoid  being rubbished by the SEC induced forensic  Audit report  on the Company.

 The Company  insists that  the alleged infractions  leveled against  it and the penalties it was asked to pay  to the aggrieved parties  was instantiated.  The major worry of the trading Company was that ”it was not given any opportunity  to see, review and respond to  the forensic Audit Report carried out   the Accounting firm, Delitte and Touche”.

 There are fears in Capital Market circles that the  SEC  induced Forensic Audit Report  on the Energy Company might affect  the sale of its shares in the market. Note that OANDO plc is one of  the Blue Chip Companies, which shares are  constantly sought for in the  Capital Market  .  Many believe that it belong to the same class as the United Bank For Africa, UBA,  one of the  leading Commercial Banks in Africa among others.  

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