Union Kicks Against Plan to Recall Suspended SEC Boss

By Dipo Olowookere

Members of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) have expressed dissatisfaction with alleged plan to recall the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo.

Mr Gwarzo was suspended late last year by Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, over allegations of abuse of office.

The suspended SEC chief was accused of paying himself about N104.9 million as severance package while still under the employment of the apex capital market regulatory body. He was further accused of awarding SEC contracts to companies linked to him, his relatives and allies.

A panel was set up by Federal Government to look into the matter and Mr Gwarzo was suspended from office to allow an unhindered investigation.

But Mr Gwarzo cried foul, claiming he was suspended because he refused to stop a forensic audit of Oando Plc, a firm listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) alleged of gross misconduct.

Reacting to an alleged plan to reinstate Mr Gwarzo, Secretary of ASCSN in Abuja, Comrade Isaac Ojemhenke, said in a statement that recalling Mr Gwarzo could dent the image of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is fighting corruption in the country.

Mr Ojemhenke said government should not think this would go the way of the reinstated Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf.

He appealed to the President not to bow to pressure from members of his inner cabinet, who allegedly want the suspended SEC boss to reclaim his position.

“But what the cabal does not seem to understand is that the impression being created in the minds of millions of Nigerians with the policy of recalling chief executives and other top government officials enmeshed in financial malpractices is that the war against corruption is a ruse.

“It is necessary to recall that Mr Gwarzo was suspended after a properly-constituted Administrative Panel set up by the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, found him culpable of financial improprieties,” he said.

The ASCSN scribe said apart from the fact that the SEC DG approved and paid himself a humongous N105 million as severance benefit while still serving as SEC DG, Mr Gwarzo was also involved in other financial scams, such as compelling the Commission to  award contracts to companies he served as director.

ASCSN added that this action was a gross violation of Public Service Rules, Financial Regulations and other extant government guidelines dealing with conducts of public officers.

“By planning to reinstate the SEC DG, the government is creating the impression that Mr Gwarzo is indispensable, yet, the Commission had continued to function during his absence.

“There are many qualified Nigerians that are capable of performing excellently in such exalted positions so, why should the government continue to reinstate individuals with character deficit into strategic offices,” the statement said.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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