The House of Representatives wants Kemi Adeosun, Minster of Finance, to upturn the suspension of Mounir Gwarzo as Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Gwarzo was suspended last week by Adeosun, who is also Chairman of the Board of SEC, over allegations of financial impropriety.
He was suspended alongside Abdulsalam Naif Habu, SEC’s Head of Media Division, and Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of the Legal Department.
However, during Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, the lawmakers resolved to form an ad hoccommittee to probe Gwarzo’s suspension, but they want both parties to maintain the status quo pending the outcome of the investigation.
This is following recent revelation that Gwarzo’s suspension was as a result of his insistence on a forensic audit of Oando Plc’s finances.
According to a report by This Day newspaper, Adeosun had held a meeting with Gwarzo and Mahmud Isa Dutse, Permanent Secretary of the finance ministry, on Monday, November 27, during which she verbally instructed Gwarzo to discontinue the Oando probe.
Gwarzo was said to have objected to the idea, but given that the Finance Minister is also the Chairman of the board of SEC, he wrote her a letter asking for her demands to be made in writing.
“Pursuant to our meeting on the above subject held on Monday, November 27, 2017, I am compelled to advise you ma, on the implication of the verbal directive issued to me in which you stated that the SEC should discontinue the forensic audit on Oando Plc and hold a tripartite meeting with Legal Officers of the Commission, Oando Plc and the Federal Ministry of Finance, with the purpose of coming up with penalties which would be issued to top officials of Oando Plc in their personal capacity for payment,” read Gwarzo’s letter which was sighted by journalists.
“The Commission in Section 13 (cc) of the Investments and Securities Act 2007, is mandated to advise the Honourable Minister of Finance on all matters relating to the securities industry.
“Thus, this advice proffered is as a result of our obligation to properly guide you on the best approach to take on capital market issues and it is strongly our recommendation that it should be adopted.
“Honourable Minister, my request to seek for a written directive is not in any way meant to disrespect your person, but stems from the basis that every decision or directive of the Board to the management of the Commission are always documented to enable ease of implementing such directive.
“Given your current capacity as the Board of the Commission. It is only proper that you be guided on the necessary procedure to adopt.”
Gwarzo was suspended a day after his letter got to the finance ministry.
However, an official of the ministry who does not want to be named said it was not true that Gwarzo was suspended because he refused to drop the Oando probe.
“That Gwarzo was suspended because of the Oando matter is not true,” the official was quoted as saying.
“The minister that day informed him that Oando had made an approach and had pleaded guilty to the charges against its management. They wanted to settle, they wanted a plea bargain of sorts.
“So, she instructed that since the management of Oando had admitted that it was guilty of the charges, she saw no reason for the audit to continue and instructed that a committee be set up to recommend penalties that will be imposed on the managers of the company in their personal capacities.
“But Gwarzo refused and insisted that the audit must go ahead, to which she informed him that he was using Oando as a ruse to divert attention from the allegations of financial impropriety against him.”
Source: Naija News