Minority shareholders of Oando Plc, yesterday, condemned the recent cancellation of the company’s 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), urging the federal government to mandate the Commission to reimburse them for losses incurred in preparation for the meeting.
The shareholders insisted that the 2018 financial year has nothing to do with the governance issues in Oando, since the forensic audit is for the previous accounts.
The protest follows SEC’srecent suspension of Oando’s AGM, slated for Tuesday, June 11, till further notice.
The Commission said the decision was sequel to the ex-parte order of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos in suit no: FHC/L/CS/910/19 in Mr. Jubril Adewale Tinubu and Anor V SEC and Anor, and to allow the parties maintain status quo, while promising to update relevant stakeholders and the public on the outcome of the litigation.
But speaking on behalf of the group, at a press briefing in Lagos, on Wednesday, the Secretary-General, Association for Investors Liberation, Hamza Ridhwan, wondered why SEC would suspend an AGM barely 24 hours to its commencement, given the initial 21 days notice already published on some national dailies.
“We, the minority shareholders of Oando Plc categorically state our utmost displeasure and disappointment at the SEC current management of the investigation into Oando Plc. The actions over the last two years and specifically, the last 10 days showed that our voices as minority shareholders are not being listened to.
“We condemn in absolute terms, the way and manner chosen by SEC in announcing the cancellation on the eve of the event, despite having ample time to do same. We have shareholders who have already transported themselves down to Lagos, and it is disheartening to think that the SEC did not think it is worthy to consider us the esteemed shareholders, when determining when to notify the general public on suspension of the AGM.”
He continued: “Oando has complied on short notice. Oando has spent billions of naira in preparations and logistics; annual reports have been printed by the company and sent out and before any AGM takes place. SEC must approved the meeting, so why not allow the AGM to take place as approved, why annul the AGM which was approved by the same SEC. The company gave 21 days notice on the AGM, published on national dailies, which the law allows.
“The company has returned to profitability, which has given the enough leverage to return to profitability and they are poised to do that so we must do everything to support the company to come out clearly and make a statement that we have bounced back to deliver the dividend of investment to shareholders,” he added.
Oando management had earlier faulted SEC’s decision to suspend yearly meeting, as contained in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), saying: “that the action taken by SEC in directing a cancellation of the AGM is not in the best interests of the company and its shareholders who have travelled at great expense, from far and wide, to attend the annual meeting of their company.”
Furthermore it said the company “also stands to lose significant shareholder funds by the attendant cancellation of the AGM at such short notice.”