James-IboriOando Plc has accused British prosecutor, Sasha Wass, of distorting facts concerning it in the ongoing asset confiscation hearing of the convicted former Delta State Governor, James Ibori.

The Deputy Group Chief Executive, Oando, Mr. Mofe Boyo, who spoke at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, said Wass chose to sensationalise the facts in order to mislead the court and discredit the company.

According to him, the prosecutor deliberately chose to hype the assertion made by Ibori that he owned 30 per cent of Oando despite the fact that Wass had earlier contacted the Nigerian Stock Exchange to confirm that this was not true from the shareholders’ register.

“The UK Police came to Nigeria during the course of investigation and I believe that they must have gone to the NSE for findings, but my worry is why they have decided to distort the facts. But as it is, we don’t have a locus standi in this case because we are neither the accused nor the defendant,” Boyo said.

He said that contrary to the British prosecutor’s claim that Ibori had 30 per cent stake in Oando, the ex-governor only had 443 units of share.

The Oando chief argued that the shareholding structure of the company was a public document available at the NSE for any interested member of the public to verify.

Boyo said the company had over 300,000 shareholders, and as such, did not have any obligation or right to carry out any form of background check on them.

He, however, said Oando was currently exploring the option of seeking legal interpretation on how best to seek redress in the matter, which he confirmed had negatively affected the company.

Meanwhile, another company linked to the convicted former governor, Notore Chemical Industries Limited, said on Thursday that Ibori did not and had never owned or controlled shares in the fertiliser firm.

It said in a statement that it had worked extremely hard to become a major player in the global fertiliser market, relying on strict ethical principles.

According to Notore, the ongoing confiscation proceedings are solely between the United Kingdom court and Ibori.

“Notore is not a party to the UK court proceedings because the English law does not allow Notore to defend itself in them,” the Onne, River State-based company said.

The firm stressed, “Ibori did not have ‘hidden assets’ in Notore. He has never owned nor controlled shares in the company, and, so far as the company is aware, no other shareholder or shareholders hold shares for him in trust.

“Notore remains proud of the central role it is playing in the revolution of African agriculture and Africa’s economic empowerment, and is committed to the Federal Government’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda and to the objective of making the country self-reliant in food production.”

 

Information from Punch was used in this report.

 

 

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