Seplat’s former CEO could launch legal action against board after sack

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A former chief executive of Seplat Energy, Austin Avuru, could initiate a legal action against the oil driller in resistance to his sudden dismissal by the company’s hierarchy, his lawyers Perchstone and Graeys said Friday.

The move is the latest phase in the wrangle between the corporation and Mr Avuru, who retired from the firm in November 2019 as a CEO, but had later become a non-executive director until Wednesday, when the Seplat board severed his contract.

Seplat – Nigeria’s largest oil and gas company by market capitalisation – said Thursday it ended Mr Avuru’s appointment for contravention of corporate governance procedure and for failing in his fiduciary duties.

It demanded a resignation notice from him and ordered Platform Petroleum Limited to shop for someone to take his role.

The row between the two came to a head early in the year over an undisclosed issue between the parties which, according to a statement by Mr Avuru’s legal team, Seplat asked its erstwhile CEO now a non-executive director to keep under wraps.

The law firm said a letter from Seplat in January helped in “confirming our client’s dignified position, and urging our client to act with confidentiality, which is customary to our client’s impeccable character.”

Mr Avuru got his termination notice around 6pm on Wednesday, according to his legal team, but was not given reasonable time to react before the announcement was made public the morning after.

“We are studying the papers and almost certainly will respond with appropriate step to remedy the multi-faceted wrongdoings on the part of Seplat on this,” Folabi Kuti, partner at Perchstone and Graeys, told PREMIUM TIMES.

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