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Lawyers fault action as Seplat terminates Avuru’s appointment

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SEPLAT Energy has terminated the appointment of Austin Avuru as non-executive director.

In a regulatory filing by the oil firm to the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) on Thursday, it said the directive was effective from December 22, 2021.

The statement explained that Avuru was involved in breaches of the company’s corporate governance policies in his fiduciary duties. The company sought a move to replace him.

It read, “The Board of Seplat Energy announces that it terminated the contract of appointment of Mr Austin Avuru as a Non-Executive Director on 22nd December 2021, due to breaches of the Company’s corporate governance policies and his fiduciary duties. The Board has called for his resignation as a Director of Seplat Energy.

“In line with Seplat Energy’s Memorandum and Articles of Association, Platform Petroleum Limited has been asked to nominate a candidate for his replacement on the Board, and a further announcement will be made in due course.”

Meanwhile Avuru’s solicitors Perchstone and Graeys stated that Seplat’s publication was created to malign its client. In a letter, Osaro Eghobamien and Folabi Kuti, both Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), vouched for their client, stating that he had an impeccable character. It also discredited the public notice, stating that the content of the letter was mischievous.

The statement read, “Our attention has been drawn to a publication issued by Seplat Energy Plc. (Seplat Energy/ the Company) on December 23, 2021, clearly designed to malign Mr. Austin Avuru (our client), and well-circulated on both the mainstream and social media.

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“By the publication, Seplat Energy announced the termination of the contract of appointment of our client as its Non-Executive Director on December 22, 2021, due to alleged breaches of the Company’s corporate governance policies and his fiduciary duties, and further called for his resignation as a director of Seplat Energy.

“Our client has taken a dignified position on the issues leading to the ill-advised action. This is clearly evidenced by Seplat Energy’s letter dated January 9, 2021, confirming our client’s dignified position, and urging our client to act with confidentiality, which is customary to our client’s impeccable character.

“In a dramatic summersault and by letter dated December 22, 2021, received by our client at about 6 pm, Seplat Energy purports to terminate the appointment of our client from the Board. This was followed by a public announcement the next morning without as much even giving our client the opportunity to respond to a letter, content of which were otherwise grossly mischievous.”

The letter accused Seplat of seeking to do damage to Avuru’s hard-earned reputation and vowed to respond to the ‘fictitious allegations.’

Meanwhile, Avuru, co-founder of Seplat Energy Plc, retired as CEO of the company on July 31, 2020, but still remains on the board as a non-executive director.

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Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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