Seplat Shareholders Demand Sack Of CEO, Board Amid Legal Fees Controversy

Seplat Shareholders Demand Sack Of CEO, Board Amid Legal Fees Controversy

12 months ago
2 mins read

Seplat shareholders have asked the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to investigate the oil and gas company.

The shareholders under the umbrella, the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) also called for the sack of Seplat’s Chief Executive Officer, Roger Brown and the board. 

ISAN made the demands in a statement signed by the National Coordinator of ISAN, Moses Igbrude, and the Executive Director of Make A Difference Initiative, Lemmy Ughegbe, after questioning the significant increase in Seplat’s general and administrative expenses, as well as the firm’s professional and consulting fees. 

Seplat had reported that due to its legal defence of the firm’s CEO, the general and administrative expenses had increased by 42 per cent year-on-year to $65.8 million in the first half of 2023, against the $46.4 million incurred in the same period in 2022. 

Also, professional and consulting fees rose 484.24 per cent year-on-year to N14.13 billion in H1 this year, in contrast to the N2.42 billion reported the year before. 

Recall that Brown and some board members were dragged to court by the Federal Government and some aggrieved stakeholders who accused the CEO of discrimination, while FG seized Brown’s work and visa permit, stating he didn’t have the right papers before he was appointed to work as Seplat CEO.

While the case has been dropped and Brown’s work and visa permits have been returned to him, shareholders in ISAN are calling for another probe into the legal fees paid to defend Brown.

Seplat had stated in its H1 2023 financial statements that: “General and administrative expenses amounted to $65.8m, 42.0 per cent higher than the G&A costs of $46.4m incurred in 6M 2022.

“This increase in G&A costs was mainly due to professional fees associated with the litigation costs in response to the unprecedented and intense period of minority shareholder actions through the Courts and some costs associated with the MPNU transaction. 

“Excluding these exceptional items, G&A costs would have closed relatively flat compared to the previous year.” 

ISAN said the revelation by Seplat supports their demand for an investigation. The group appealed to President Bola Tinubu to task FRCN and SEC to conduct a probe into how much the lawyer and the law firm received while defending the CEO  

“We earnestly call on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to direct the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Security and Exchange Commission to do their jobs by taking disciplinary actions and carrying out a thorough investigation into the perpetual breach of corporate governance codes to save Seplat and the investments of Nigerians and international investors from going down the drains. 

“We also urge the President to institute a probe panel composed of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and other relevant bodies to investigate the circumstances surrounding the so-called legal fees and other related matters in Seplat Energy Plc.” 

The statement further reads that Brown should be removed immediately, alongside Seplat’s Independent Non-Executive Directors to ensure the probe is not compromised. 

“We demand the immediate resignation or removal of Seplat CEO, Roger Brown, and Independent Non-Executive Directors to ensure an unimpeded investigation into the rot in Seplat before it is too late,” ISAN wrote in the statement.


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