…As Shareholders Accuse Minister Of Interfering In SEC’s Affairs
By Dotun Akintomide
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun had given reasons why she waded into the crisis rocking the Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) following the multiple events of the last one week pertaining to the lifting, reinstatement and lifting again of the technical suspension placed on Oando’s shares traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Consequent upon this, last weekend, the minister had announced the removal of the acting Director General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Zubair and replaced him with Ms. Mary Uduk.
According to Adeosun, she had to suspend Zubair at the weekend because she had pointedly asked him not to lift the technical suspension on the energy company’s shares the week before last until a committee comprising representatives from her ministry, SEC, the NSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), where Oando has a dual listing, had reviewed the report of the forensic audit submitted by the team of professionals appointed by SEC to investigate the company.
She said in spite of her directive, SEC still went ahead to issue a memo to the NSE lifting the technical suspension the market regulator had placed on the shares of Oando since October last year.
While the shareholder groups have accused Adeosun of “unwholesome interference” in the nation’s capital market and meddling in the operations of SEC, and demanded her immediate sack, the minister has denied the allegations, saying the shareholder groups were speaking out of ignorance.
But in a joint statement in Lagos yesterday, the shareholder groups – Proactive Shareholders’ Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), Trusted Shareholders’ Association of Nigeria (TSAN) and the Oando Shareholders’ Solidarity Group (OSSG) – alleged that in the minister’s desperation to shield Oando from probe, “Adeosun has inevitably caused untold harm both to the independence of SEC and the Nigerian capital market”.
The statement was issued after SEC penultimate week said it had concluded its forensic audit of Oando without making public the outcome of the audit on the energy firm, following which the capital market regulator lifted, reinstated and again lifted the technical suspension placed on the company’s shares in a space of 24 hours last week, culminating in the removal of Zubair by the finance minister, and his replacement with Ms. Uduk.