THE drama unfolding inside South Pacific Oil Ltd (SPOL) this week has got a lot of people talking.
And those talking most are members of the National Provident Fund (NPF), who hold more than 80 per cent shares in SPOL.
Because it is their money that is at stake here.
SPOL board, chaired by Joses Tuhanuku, suspected SPOL managing director Mike Hemmer is spending millions of dollars without his board’s knowledge and authority.
These alleged spending were made to GRP & Associates, a company Mr Hemmer owns.
Now an internal audit inquiry is underway, after the board obtained a court order Monday this week.
The board has to go all the way to the court after Mr Hemmer initially prevented auditors from accessing SPOL books.
While this is happening, Mr Hemmer came up with sexual allegation against Mr Tuhanuku.
He charged Mr Tuhanuku allegedly harass a SPOL female manager. Details of the allegation are now with the police’s Sexual Assault Unit.
Now that the allegations are being investigated, let’s allow the processes to take their course to the end.
But this latest drama provides the impetus for the NPF board, as custodian of members’ funds, to relook at the head agreement it signed with GRP & Associates on SPOL.
What is happening now is exactly what many feared would happen when NPF allowed GRP & Associates to manage SPOL.
That the agreement favoured GRP & Associates more than NPF despite being the majority shareholder.
That GRP & Associates would use SPOL to further its interest than more than that of NPF.
That the issue of conflict of interest is bound to arise at some stage in the future.
Let’s wait for the result from the internal audit.
In the meantime, NPF board should start seriously looking at the shareholding arrangement in SPOL.
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