There are indications that Alhaji Aliko Dangote may have bowed to pressure following controversy trailing his alleged involvement in the manipulation of the share price of African Petroleum (AP) Plc.as he stepped down as the first vice President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Dangote was to take over as President of the NSE atÂ the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent, Mr. Oba Odudeko.
However, when Vanguard contacted the spokeâ€™s person of the NSE, Mr. Sola OniÂ for comment on the alleged stepped down of Dangote, he said, â€œ I am not aware of any step down by Dangote. I am not privy to the Council Meeting held last week. So whatever was deliberated upon am not aware.â€
It would be recalled that Femi Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited and core investors in African Petroleum Plc, AP, had accused Alhaji Aliko Dangote of using Nova Finance as a vehicle to run down the share price of AP.
Otedola took advert spaces in several national newspapers to drive home his point. The NSE after seating over the issues found Nova Finance to have contravened Article 103 and 107 of the Rules and Regulations and decided to place the firm on suspension from trading on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, as well as a fine of N500,000 per day from the effective date of suspension until the fine is paid.The NSE saw the numerous publications of AP in various newspapers as a breach of laid down rules and regulations and decided to slam a fine of N300,000 flat on it for contravening the Post Listing Requirements.
All of these, some analysts have said, were mere slaps on the wrist as the absence of Nova Finance was never noticed one day at the Exchange for the period the so called suspension was expected to last.However, it should be noted that the SEC intervened in the saga and absolved Dangote of blame based on lack of direct evidence to show that he instructed Nova Finance and Securities Limited to carry out illegal transactions on AP shares on his behalf. But SEC slammed a five-year ban on Anenih, managing director of Nova Securities.
Still not satisfied Otedola filled a petition before the Securities and Exchange Commission, (SEC) seeking the payment of N117.18 billion being losses incurred as a result of the share manipulation between August 21, 2008 and March 26, 2009.
Apparently enraged by the exoneration of Dangote by SEC, Otedola reported the matter to the EFCC. It was gathered that Otedola told the Chairman of the EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri, that â€œas a matter of urgent importance, Dangote, the Vice-President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), must not be allowed to go scot-free for his alleged role in the manipulative and deceptive plot to lower the price of AP shares on the Exchange.â€
That notwithstanding, most people considered the sanction on the firm as uncalled for as what it did was not new to the Exchange.
with Vanguard noted that â€˜crossingâ€™ of shares is a legitimate and a commonly used tool to trade equities on the floor of the exchange.