Capital market investors have charged the National Assembly to issue a directive, mandating the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), to permit Stanbic IBTC’s auditors to release the bank’s 2015 financial statement and present its scorecard to shareholders.
FRCN, had last year, suspended the bank’s chairman, Atedo Peterside, and other senior officials over alleged accounting irregularities in the bank’s 2013 and 2014 financial statements, which, apparently is stalling the release of the 2015 financial statement.
But the shareholders, who spoke in a telephone interview with The Guardian, argued that the 2015 account statement of the bank is not part of the contentious account in question, and therefore, should be presented to investors for a review and subsequent payment of dividend, if any.
According to them, the inability of the bank to conduct its 2015 Annual General Meeting (AGM) to review previous year’s performance is already eroding investors’ confidence in the bank and ultimately affecting its share price in the stock market.
The National Cordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie explained that the failure of any bank to present its financial statement to stakeholders can lead to financial instability in the system.
“While the matter is ongoing, FRCN should allow the auditors to do their job. They should allow them to have their AGM and pay dividend.
“If they allow the bank to present their scorecard, it will not stop you to prosecute and win if the case is in your favour. You cannot hold the bank to ransom. The bank has the right to approve account. FRCN does not have the right to tell the bank not to present its account to shareholders.
“The 2015 account must be presented. Shareholders must discuss the account. FRCN must allow the auditors to do their job. FRCN has told the auditors that if they audit the account, they would not operate as auditors in the market again.
“Is FRCN killing these institutions or promoting their growth? Federal government must call them to order. They should allow the auditors to do their work and present to the account to CBN. It is the bank’s that pays the auditors.
“All these are affecting the bank share price in the stock market. People are insinuating that the bank is not healthy, If not, why is it that they are not holding their AGM and people may not understand that the fault is from FRCN,” he added.
Furthermore, Okezie called for a review of the act that empowers the FRCN, saying that the National Assembly needed to streamline the operations of the council, especially as it relates to the new regulations.
“We can not have two codes. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Code of Corporate Governance is applicable to all public companies and compliance with its provisions is mandatory.
Source:© Copyright Guardian Online
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