Home » Seplat Energy terminates contract of Nigerian oil mogul Austin Avuru as director

Seplat Energy terminates contract of Nigerian oil mogul Austin Avuru as director

by Mfonobong Nsehe

Leading energy group Seplat Energy has terminated Nigerian oil magnate Austin Avuru’s contract as a non-executive director.

The Nigeria-based energy group called for his resignation as a non-executive director due to breaches of the company’s corporate governance policies and his fiduciary duties.

Information gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that Seplat called on Platform Petroleum Limited to nominate a candidate to replace him on the board in line with its Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Avuru reacted to the announcement by saying the move was an attempt to damage his reputation.

The energy magnate, who spoke through his legal counsel Perchstone and Graeys, said the statement by Seplat and his termination as a non-executive director were simply a play to the public, and the true intent was to inflict damage to his hard-earned reputation.

He added that the allegations levelled against him with regard to the breaches named by the company were a deliberate attempt to damage his interests as a leading businessman with investments in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry.

In his defense, Avuru’s legal counsel, which confirmed the termination, stated: “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.”

Avuru was previously the CEO of Seplat Energy and co-founded the group with Ambrosie Bryant Orjiako through a strategic partnership with Shebah Petroleum Development Company and Platform Petroleum Joint Ventures.

Since its founding more than a decade ago, Seplat has grown into the largest listed energy group on the Nigerian Exchange, with a N382.5-billion ($930 million) market capitalization.

Avuru holds an indirect 10.4-percent stake in the energy company valued at N39.8 billion ($96.8 million).

The recent tussle between Avuru and Seplat comes nearly a month after Orjiako resigned as the chairman and board director of Seplat Energy.

Capital market observers and experts close to the group believe that Orjiako’s decision to step down was spurred by court actions over a $150-million loan facility taken by Shebah E&P Limited to implement a drilling campaign in OML 108 in 2012.

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