Oando debunks allegation, says Ibori’s stake in company ‘clearly insignificant’

James Ibori
Management of the oil firm, Oando Plc, on Monday debunked a media report that former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, is a significant shareholder in the company.
A statement by the company noted that the story carried by international newswire, Reuters, “Is incorrect and misleading,” stressing that as a company whose shares are traded on the Nigerian and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges, it “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’,” the statement added.
The integrated energy company, however, accepted “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 three separate transactions over a period of about seven months.”
The amount, the company reiterated, was insignificant considering the company’s turnover of approximately US$800 million in 2004, and that the transaction “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.”
Ibori, the report had claimed, “hid some of his assets in the oil firm Oando and money passed from the company’s accounts to Ibori’s Swiss accounts, a British prosecutor told a court on Monday,” when a three-week confiscation hearing began at London’s Southwark Crown Court.
Oando, though not a party to the case, had its interest represented in court by a British lawyer, Andrew Baillie QC.
Oando, in the statement, quoted Baillie as stating outside the courtroom that “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.”


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