The Johannesburg Stock Exchange. File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

JOHANNESBURG -Onando, the dual-listed Nigerian indigenous energy company saw its woes deepen yesterday after both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the JSE ordered the full suspension of the trading of shares in the firm for two days.

This is after Nigeria’s Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) received two petitions from Alhaji Dahiru Barau Mangal and Ansbury Incorporated alleging mismanagement in the firm.

The SEC in a statement said after it carried out a comprehensive review of the petitions it found, among other transgressions: suspected insider dealing, discrepancies in the shareholding structure of Oando and that related party transactions were not conducted at arm’s length. The commission said its findings were weighty and therefore needed to be further investigated.

“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,” SEC said.

Suspension

In its communiqué, the SEC ordered that trading of the shares of Oando would be fully suspended for 48 hours, effective Wednesday until today. From today and until further directive, the NSE would implement a technical suspension in the shares of Oando. Last month, Nigeria’s lower house of parliament gave the SEC two weeks to disclose the results of its investigation into Oando.

Earlier this year, Mangal and Ansbury had petitioned the SEC, claiming majority ownership in Oando. They had also warned that the company was being mismanaged by a team led by Wale Tinubu, Oando’s group chief executive.

One of the petitioners, Ansbury, had in its petition urged the SEC to stop Oando from holding its annual general meeting, which still went ahead on September 11.

In July, Oando confirmed that it was under investigation by the SEC over alleged malpractices in its financial statements, but said the claims were “defamatory and unsubstantiated”.

Yesterday, the firm said it remained committed to acting in the best interests of all its shareholders and would issue a full statement of the company’s position as soon as possible.

“The company has received communication from its primary listing, the NSE, that the SEC has issued a directive to immediately suspend the trading of Oando shares, a directive to which the NSE has complied. The JSE has accordingly suspended trading of the Oando shares with effect from 9am SA time,” Oando said.

Oando in 2014 bought US-based ConocoPhillips Nigeria’s upstream business for $1.5 billion (R20.23bn), at the time the biggest acquisition in the upstream oil and gas sector by a Nigerian company.

The company had said it planned to increase its oil production capacity to 100000 barrels per day (bpd) over a five-year period, up from 42500 bpd after buying ConocoPhillips’ Niger Delta assets.

- BUSINESS REPORT