Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc has said that in the running of its business it will continue to exercise its constitutional rights to seek redress and protection through the legal process and the law courts. The organization made the clarification in response to the expected publication of its 2015 audited financial statements, over which it is in dispute with the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC).
In a letter to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) dated May 27, 2016, the organization said it was imperative to bring all stakeholders up to date on why the issuance of its 2015 financial statement is being delayed.The organization said that on 24 March 2016, it informed NSE, shareholders and other stakeholders about the reporting challenges it was experiencing with FRC regarding its 2015 financial statements, which subsequently led to the engagement of its external auditors on the appropriate presentation of certain items in its financial statements, which are the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.
It will be recalled that Stanbic IBTC had instituted an appeal at the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal following allegations of mis-representation of its financial report, over which FRC had announced a regime of sanctions against Stanbic IBTC Holdings, including a fine of N1billion.
The organization noted that in order to ensure the timely finalization of its 2015 audited financial statements, it obtained the approval of the NSE to delay the filing of its 2015 audited financial statements on 24 March 2016, while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) applied the regulatory sanction for late filing of financial statements by a listed entity.
However, the challenges with the FRC continued, as the regulatory agency continued to place hurdles in the way of fair and quick resolution of the issues. For instance, on 15 March 2016, FRC published on its website undated new rules which the agency said applied with immediate effect. In essence, the new rules would apply to all financial statements that had not been finalized as at 15 March 2016.
“Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC has prepared its 31 December 2015 financial statements in compliance with the undated new FRC rules published on 15 March 2016 and all extant accounting standards. KPMG has however indicated that they will not be able to express an audit opinion in respect of the financial statements given the stance taken by the FRC on this issue,” the organization stated in the letter.
The company added that it considers the position taken by the FRC with respect to the injunction and its 2015 financial statements as erroneous and unfortunate and has alerted the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), its primary statutory regulator, as well as the Honorable Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment to the challenges posed by the FRC.