The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), yesterday said that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard before they were penalised.
The commission said in Lagos that there were various opportunities by the company to defend themselves during the investigation by SEC and during the forensic audit.
“The attention of SEC has been drawn to various reports questioning the regulatory authority of the SEC, and insinuating lack of due process in the investigations of Oando Plc.
“To put the records straight, SEC hereby states that fair hearing is a paramount and fundamental principle which the commission as a law abiding agency adheres to in all its investigative processes.
“In the course of the investigations, communications e.g. letters and phone calls were exchanged and meetings held between the commission and Oando Plc, requesting for its comments and explanations on issues relating to the investigations.
“The findings of the commission was communicated to the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of Oando Plc by a letter dated July 10, 2017,” SEC said in statement by Mrs Efe Ebelo, its head, Corporate Communications and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
The commission said it subsequently engaged Deloitte & Touche to conduct a forensic audit of the activities of Oando Plc.
“In the course of conducting the forensic audit, Deloitte & Touche held regular sessions with members of the board and senior management of Oando Plc, and afforded them the opportunity to provide explanations on issues relating to the audit.
“The commission confirms that Oando Plc was given sufficient opportunity of being heard and accorded several opportunities to rebut the issues revealed by the investigation.
“The responses given by Oando Plc were, however, considered unsatisfactory; prompting, the decision by the commission to penalise the company and some of the individuals related to it for violations of securities laws.
“The actions of the commission were properly effected pursuant to the provisions of the Investments & Securities Act (ISA) 2007 and the SEC Rules and Regulations made pursuant to the ISA 2007,” SEC said.
It added that these facts had been properly articulated in the court process it filed at the Federal High Court in response to the suit instituted by the Group Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando Plc.
“As the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the commission has a mandate to protect investors,” it said.
SEC noted that its recent action on Oando Plc aligned with the above cardinal mandate.
It said that the directive for the removal of persons from the board of Oando Plc and the appointment of an interim management team to temporarily steer the affairs of the company was to protect investors and preserve stakeholder value.
SEC said that failure or refusal of the commission to act in the face of the serious issues thrown up by the investigations or to reverse its directive would undermine the federal government’s agenda to build strong institutions.
Reports say that SEC on June 2, following the outcome of its forensic audit constituted an interim management team to be headed by Sunmonu for embattled Oando Plc.
It noted that Sunmonu would oversee the affairs the company and conduct an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on or before July 1, to appoint new board of directors.
The regulatory body also said that appointed new board of directors at the meeting would subsequently select a management team for Oando Plc.
The commission, however, reiterated its commitment to maintaining the integrity of the market.
CAC Registers 245,000 SMEs Free Of Charge
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.
IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal
The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss, expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.
1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta
No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.
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