Oando denies Ibori as majority shareholder
By Joseph BAMIDELE
FOLLOWING the report that jailed former Governor of Delta state, Mr James Ibori hid a major part of his ill-gotten wealth in Oando Plc, Nigeria’s foremost indigenous energy services provider, the Company has denied that the former corrupt governor was ever a major shareholder of the highly reputable company.
According to a statement issued and signed by the Company’s Alero Balogun, Oando stated categorically that Mr. James Ibori does not own ‘a large part of Oando’ and that this statement is incorrect and misleading.” Oando is a publicly traded company listed on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges and does not and cannot control the trading in its securities on the floor of the respective exchanges. Based on our current shareholding register, Mr. James Ibori’s shareholding stands at 443 shares out of a total issued and paid up share capital of 6.8 billion ordinary shares, which is clearly insignificant, and cannot be considered as ‘a large part of Oando’.”
Continuing, Oando also stated that it does accept that sometime in 2004, in the normal course of its business, it sold some of its foreign exchange earnings for Naira and the recipient of the US Dollars was a company which has now turned out to be one controlled by James Ibori. At the time of the transaction, this information was unknown to Oando. The total amount was US$2.7 million made in 3 separate transactions over a period of about 7 months. This amount was insignificant considering the company’s turnover of approximately US$800million in 2004.
The above constitutes the only transactions between Oando and any company controlled by Mr. Ibori. Consequently, Oando cannot be described as a company where James Ibori has hidden assets as a result of these foreign exchange transactions.
Commenting on the statements made in court, Andrew Baillie QC, counsel representing Oando also stated outside the courtroom: “It is unfortunate that our client has been dragged into these proceedings. There is no suggestion from the prosecution of any wrongdoing or involvement in wrongdoing on the part of Oando”.