Founder and former MD/CEO of Seplat, Austin Avuru has responded to a press release from Seplat Plc that terminated his position as a non-executive director.
In response to the termination of his appointment, Mr. Avuru through his lawyers, Perchstone and Graeys, claimed the purported termination was “clearly designed to malign Mr. Austin Avuru” suggesting this was why the publication was circulated across social media and mainstream media platforms.
“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”
Mr Avuru also suggested the action by Seplat was taken despite a publication in January which suggested that both parties had decided to handle the issues of breaches to corporate governance internally and without resort to going public.
“Our client had taken a dignified position on the issues leading to the ill-advised action. This is dearly evidenced by Seplat Energy’s letter dated January 9, 2021 confirming our client’s dignified position, and urging our clients 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. Thás was followed by a pubic announcement the next morning without as much even giving our clients the opportunity to respond to a letter, content of which were otherwise grossly mischievous.”
He also claims the action by Seplat was to “play to the gallery” thus damaging the reputation of the former Seplat MD/CEO. However, Mr. Avuru was yet to respond to the allegations leveled against him but indicated that a response will be made “immediately” as the controversy rages on.
“We will immediately respond to the fictitious allegations, and reserve our client’s rights. The general public is hereby advised to discountenance Seplat Energy’s publication.”
Seplat has been marred by shareholder controversies in recent years which has led to the exit of two of its founders, ABC Orjiakor and Austin Avuru as Chairman and MD/CEO respectively. Avuru retired as MD/CEO in July 2020.
According to the company’s 2020 annual report, Avuru now holds nil direct interest and indirect interest of 61,227,182 ordinary shares (10.40%).
The majority shareholders of Seplat include MPI, Petrolin, Alan Gray, Professional Support, and Sustainable Capital with 20.46%, 13.77%, 7.22%, 7.01%, and 5.75% respectively.
This is a developing story….