Quoted Company’s Shareholders Fume At SEC, Here’s Why

Quoted Company's Shareholders Fume At SEC, Here's Why

Shareholders of the Nigerian quoted firms are not happy with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over the failure of the commission to publish its eight years results to the investing public through its website. ThisDay reports.

The last time the commission published its audited account on its website was in 2014 when it displayed its 2015 financials. That was during the tenure of Arunma Oteh as the Director-General, and Malam Sulleyman Ndanusa, the board chairman of the commission.

From the era of the then Acting Director-General of the comm ission, Mary Uduk who was appointed by former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun on April 13, 2018, till the coming on board of Mr. Lamido Yuguda, whose appointment was confirmed by the Senate on 10th June 2020, the story has remained the same. This is because up till now, the commission has not submitted its results on its website.

Uduk’s explanation back then was that the Commission would publish its audited results once a board was appointed and signed during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

Findings showed that Yuguda, since appointed the Director General of SEC three years ago, has not publicly disclosed the apex capital market’s annual reports and accounts.

In addition to the executive and non-executive members of the SEC Board, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) also have their representatives on the SEC Board.

However, a source at the commission explained that the audited results are submitted to the Minister and the National Assembly every year.

According to the source, “The commission’s audited results for every year are available and it is the right of shareholders to ask for it. Uploading it on the official website is at the discretion of the SEC. SEC can decide not to upload it online and the fact remains the commission has done the needful by providing it to the Minister and National Assembly.

“It can only be a big deal if the commission does not have audited accounts.

“The only one that is not ready is 2022 but it has been shared with the Minister and National Assembly. The law stipulated that first three months of each year, the results must be ready and so by March of each year, we usually make sure the report goes to the National assembly and the Minister.”

Part IV, section 26 of the Act stated that “The commission, shall not later than three months after the end of each year, submit to the Minister and the National Assembly, a report on the activities and administration of the commission during the immediately preceding year and, shall include in such reports, audited accounts of the commission and the report of the Auditor on the accounts.”

SEC, however, admitted in a statement that dissemination of factual information is critical to complement the efforts of the federal government for the growth and development of the capital market and Nigeria’s economy.

SEC in a follow-up response on its official website said, “Contrary to these false claims, the commission as a law-abiding agency has duly audited its financial accounts year after year before and onward from 2014, and has submitted these to the relevant agencies statutorily empowered by the Federal Government to receive same, including the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning; Office of the Auditor General of the Federation; Fiscal Responsibility Commission; Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, as well as the appropriate committees of the National Assembly”.

“The commission, which said it is a strong promoter of world-class corporate governance standards, said its commitment to upholding such ideals and strongly advise “persons with requests for information to channel such to the commission via email to sec@sec.gov.ng, and to which the commission would respond accordingly.”

Shareholders’ Position on SEC’s Audited Results

Shareholders over the years have insisted on the publication of SEC’s audited results online or in print which differs from the ISA 2007 directive.

Speaking on the matter, the National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie insisted that SEC must publish its up-to-date results to investing public.

“If SEC has audited its results, it will be in the interest of the capital market to have it published in two national dailies or published it online. As a public institution that regulates the capital market, they must live by example. SEC does not need to be reminded to publish its financials.

“The past DG of SEC failed to publish these audited results and we are expecting the current DG to publish past audited results in a move to strengthen transparency and accountability. The current DG needed to ensure that these audited results and accounts are published.

“SEC should not follow the track record of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), among others. You have failed as a regulator if you don’t live by example.”

Supporting Okezie was a former secretary of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Adebayo Adeleke, who insisted that the SEC is a public institution and does not need to be called upon before publishing its results.

According to him, “SEC is the one mandating every publicly listed company to submit their audited accounts. They should lead by example. How many investors will begin to write emails for SEC’s audited accounts and what is SEC’s obligation to reply to sent emails?

“SEC cannot be penalising publicly listed companies for not filing their results on time when your own account is shrouded in mystery. Mind you, SEC is spending tax payer’s money and why can’t they be accountable? Everybody is talking about transparency and accountability. So, why can’t SEC publish the audited accounts? They should not give the impression that something has gone a miss.”

Speaking from a different perspective, the former group’s National Coordinator, ISAN, Dr. Anthony Omojola said there is no big deal if the commission does not release its audited results.

He, however, called on shareholders to write to the commission and demand a copy.

“Due to the nature of the SEC as the capital market regulating body, people will always want to know what is happening there. However, it should not be a big deal if the audited results are not released online,” he said.

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