In the mode of continuity by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) as a capital market regulator, it has issue a fresh press statement on plans to commence the forensic audit of energy giant- Oando Plc, according to the letter addressed to Wale Tinubu, Group Managing Director of Oando plc informing him to expect the SEC team of forensic auditors from Wednesday, December 6, 2017.
The letter dated Tuesday, December 5, 2017, titled: “Re: Forensic Audit Into The Affairs Of Oando Plc,” and personally signed by Dr. Abdul Zubair, acting Director General, said the forensic auditors “had been directed to commence work since November 27, 2017 and as a result shall be at your premises on any date from Wednesday, December 6, 2017.”
In the statement, the SEC said it is aware that the suit No. FHC/L/CS/1601/17: Oando Plc V. SEC & Anor “was struck out on November 23, 2017.”
The letter added that although there is a notice of appeal filed by Oando Plc challenging the ruling of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, such “does not serve as an order of court restraining the commission from conducting the exercise.”
The letter further said, outside of this, the commission, “is not aware of the existence of any valid or subsisting order of court restraining the commission from proceeding with the forensic audit.”
It therefore urged the company to cooperate with the team of auditors led by the external audit firm of Akintola Williams Deloitte. Other professional firms involved in the audit exercise are: United Securities Limited; SPA Ajibade & Co, a firm of capital market solicitors; Tjadap Consulting and Associates; and Nasiru Muhammad & Co.
Oando, according to the SEC is to bear the cost of the exercise put at N160m.
Amehnews recalls that the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Mohammed Aikawa withdrew, saying it lacked jurisdiction in the suit over allegations of irregularities and governance infractions.
Based on the preliminary objection by counsel to the commission, George Uwechue, SAN, the court advised Oando to seek redress at the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST), being the proper place for such.
According to Justice Aikawa, “I find the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act 2007 quite instructive. Section 284 of the ISA (2007) says the Tribunal shall, to the exclusion of any other court of law or body in Nigeria, exercise jurisdiction to hear and determine any question of law or dispute involving- (a) a decision or determination of the Commission in the operation and application of this Act, and in particular, relating to any dispute- (i) between capital market operators; (ii) between capital market operators and their clients; (iii) between an investor and a securities exchange or capital trade point or clearing and settlement agency; (iv) between capital market operators and self-regulatory organisation; (b) the Commission and self-regulatory organisation; (c) a capital market operator and the Commission; (d) an investor and the Commission; (e) an issuer of securities and the Commission; and Jurisdiction of the Tribunal, etc. 132 (f) disputes arising from the administration, management and operation of collective investment schemes.
“It is not in dispute that the matter before me is a dispute between capital market operators.
That said, he added that “the duty of the court is to apply the law.
“On this premise, I have no option than to uphold the preliminary objection. I also in the same vein uphold the preliminary objection of the 2nd defendant (Nigerian Stock Exchange). This court lacks the jurisdiction to adjudicate the dispute between both parties.”
He therefore ordered that “the proper place for this matter to go is IST. I therefore strike out this matter.”