The Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered the Nigerian Stock Exchange to suspend trading on the shares of Oando Plc.

The commission said in a circular yesterday it had carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions by Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated and made the following findings amongst others; Breach of the provisions of the Investments and 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.

“The commission’s primary role as apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market is to regulate the market and protect the investing public. The commission notes that the above findings are weighty and therefore needs to be further investigated.

“After due consideration, the commission believes that it is necessary to conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of Oando Plc. This is pursuant to the statutory duties of the commission as provided in Section 13(k), (n), (r) and (aa) of the ISA 2017,” the circular read in part.

According to SEC, to ensure the independence and transparency of the exercise, the forensic audit shall be conducted by a consortium of experts made up of auditors, lawyers, stockbrokers and registrars.

“To further ensure that the interests of all shareholders of Oando Plc are preserved during the course of the exercise, the commission directed the Nigerian Stock Exchange to place the shares of Oando Plc on technical suspension,” it further added.

However, in view of the fact that it is not technologically feasible for the exchange to effect a technical suspension except after 48 hours, it directed as follows;

“Effective for 48 hours from today, 18 October 2017 to 20 October 2017, the Nigerian Stock Exchange should implement a full suspension in the trading of the shares of Oando Plc; and Effective from 20 October 2017 and until further directive, the exchange should implement a technical suspension in the shares of Oando Plc.”

External auditors of Oando Plc reported strong, doubtful concern on the group’s annual financial statement. The group has negative working capital of over N263bn with current liabilities exceeding current assets.

Oando closed the year 2016 with consistent loss of over N768bn; significantly worse than the year-end 2015. The net loss for the year from continuing operations in 2016 amounts to N25.8bn as reported in the annual audited financial statement.

[Daily Trust]