By Odunewu Segun
Crisis-ridden Oando suffered another setback on Thursday as the Johannesburg Stock Exchange placed an embargo on the trading of its shares.
The suspension came after an order by Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prompted the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to suspend the embattled company on Wednesday.
According to a notice by the JSE on Thursday, the suspension was effected based on a correspondence between the Nigerian bourse and JSE.
Recall that the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, on Wednesday issued instruction to the Nigerian Stock Exchange to place the shares of Oando Plc on technical suspension. The exchange was further requested to place the stock on full suspension for 48 hours and then place it on technical suspension till further notice.
This is to allow SEC conduct a Forensic Audit that shall be handled by a consortium of experts made up of “auditors, lawyers, stockbrokers and Registrars.”
Oando Plc was reported to SEC by two of its shareholders, Gabriel Volpi and Alhaji Mangal over allegation that Wale Tinubu has mismanaged the firm, and are thus pushing for his removal from the board.
According to SEC, it has now decided to carry out a forensic investigation after it claimed it made the following findings amongst others; Breach of the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act 2007; Breach of the SEC Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies; Suspected insider Dealing; Related party transactions not conducted at arm’s length and discrepancies in the shareholding structure of Oando Plc. Etc
According to findings by National Daily, if SEC investigation concludes that insider trading and other allegation it listed holds true, it could decide that this happened under the watchful eyes of the board and as such they would have to resign.
It is also likely that the board and management of Oando may weigh its options amidst these allegations and thus decide that it is in the best interest of the company for the CEO and some of his executive management team to step aside pending the determination of the case.
Similarly, banks also have a say in what happens to this company. Seeing that their loans to the company may be at risk, they could pile pressure on the board to take action against management pending the determination of the SEC investigation. This also gives them the level of comfort that ensures the business continues to run smoothly without the weight of a SEC investigation.
Things could also go south for Alhaji Mangal and Volpi who may also be found culpable of flouting the ISA.
You will recall that Oando has also accused Alhaji Mangal of not declaring that it owned over 5% of Oando, a statutory requirement for publicly quoted companies. Volpi’s could also be on the hook for its role in the shareholding structure of the company.