Market operators at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) r eacted sharply to the 13 billion naira financial scandal rocking one of the quot e d companies – Cadbury Nigeria Plc. The financial scandal has led to the banning of top officials of the company fro m holding directorship positions among other penalties for sharp practices, desc r ibing the actions taken as appropriate. A stock-broker, Andy Saku told the PANA here “the regulatory body acted well as this goes to confirm that as a public quoted company, there is no hiding place f o r fraudulent practices. “Accountability and transparency are what gives credibility to the market. The sanctions will restore investors confidence,” Saku said. In June 2006, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) expressed concern on is sues arising from Cadbury’s annual reports and accounts for 2005, particularly i n the areas of inadequate disclosure, non compliance with corporate governance co d e and obtaining loans for the payments of dividends to shareholders, contrary to
SEC regulation. “The commission constituted an in-house committee which carried out a thorough i nvestigation on the matter and confirmed the report of mis-statements in the acc o unt, to the tune of approximately 13 billion naira,” SEC said in a statement mad e available to PANA. The statement announced series of sanctions on key actors in the scam and the company. Cadbury will pay a fine of N100,000: 00 in the first instance and a penalty of N 5,000 per day from 30 June 2002 to 14 December 2006 within 21 days failing whic h trading on its shares will be suspended on the stock market. Reacting to the penalties, many of the stockbrokers said it was in tune with the rules and regulations governing the conduct of business on the capital market. They said such measures are necessary, pointing out that it was remarkable the sanctions were not only for the officials but also the company. Cadbury’s former chief executive officer, Bunmi Oni, and Ayo Akadiri, an executi ve director, were equally banned from holding any directorship position of any p u blic company in Nigeria. The apex regulatory body in the capital market (SEC) also penalised and repriman ded Akintola Williams, Delloite (AWD), the external auditor of the company and t h e Union Registrars Ltd for violating the provisions of the investments and secur i ties act of 1999. “Cadbury Nigeria Plc, Bunmi Oni, Ayo Akadiri and thirteen others have been refer red to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC) for further investiga t ion and prosecution,” the statement added. With the actions of the regulatory body, stakeholders in the Nigeria’s capital m arket said SEC has just woken up to its responsibilities of upholding good ethic a l practices, accountability, transparency and protection of investor’s interest i n the sub sector of the economy . They were optimistic this will send a good signal of assurance to international investors.