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FG Denies Plan To Halt OANDO Probe | The Precision

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Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun
Nigeria’s minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun says her ministry has not interfered in an
inquiry into oil company, Oando.

“Forensic auditors have resumed work at
Oando,” Kemi Adeosun said in a statement on Friday.
She added that the
ministry had approved the original decision to carry out the audit into
Oando’s shareholding structure. 
Adeosun
suspended the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo over finance ministry
allegations of financial impropriety, a month after Gwarzo started an
investigation into Oando’s shareholding structure and froze trading in
its shares. 
Oando was not available to comment. 
Gwarzo,
who was not immediately available for comment, has alleged that his
suspension was due to “his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando”,
the finance ministry said in the statement on Friday. 
“There
was no directive whatsoever to discontinue investigation into Oando and
this was reiterated to the current SEC leadership at the formal
handover meeting,” Adeosun said. 
The ministry
has appointed Abdul Zubair to act as head of the commission while
allegations that Gwarzo awarded contracts to firms related to him and
family members are investigated. 
Meanwhile,
lawmakers are probing the circumstances of Gwarzo’s suspension, saying
that they would look into whether the ministry had interfered with the
SEC’s work. 
The SEC on Tuesday said it had sent
a letter to Oando, informing the company of its decision to conduct the
audit, which it has appointed accounting firm Deloitte to handle. 
Shares
in Oando, which had been frozen at 5.99 naira since Oct. 18, sold off
in heavy trading of 10.1 million units, a day after Gwarzo was
suspended. It traded 1.5 million units on Friday at the fixed price. 
Oando,
which bought ConocoPhillips’ Nigerian business for $1.65 billion in
2014, had gone to court to challenge the suspension of its shares by the
SEC. (Reuters)

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