By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Erstwhile Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has disclosed that Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has no right to suspend him from office.
Mr Gwarzo made this known on Tuesday at the investigative panel set up by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions to look into his suspension by the Minister in November 2017.
The former SEC boss was removed from office alongside two other senior officials of the capital market regulatory agency.
He was accused of paying himself the sum of N104 million as severance package after he was appointed as the DG of the capital market regulator in 2015 by former President Goodluck Jonathan following the resignation of the former occupier of the seat, Ms Arunma Oteh.
Also suspended were the Head of Legal Department at SEC, Mrs Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, and Head of Media in SEC, Mr Abdulsalam Naif Habu, who were both alleged to have received contracts from the commission through their companies.
Mrs Adeosun had set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of the Director-General and explained that Mr Gwarzo’s suspension was to allow unhindered investigation of fraud allegations levelled against him.
But speaking at the panel yesterday, the embattled SEC chief said Mrs Adeosun cannot punish him because only the board of the commission has such powers.
At the moment, the regulatory agency has no board because President Muhammadu Buhari is yet to constitute one despite call for such.
Mr Gwarzo said it was totally wrong for the Minister to suspend him based on the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406 as the commission was not a “public service.”
But the Minister countered him, saying his suspension was in the right order.
According to Mrs Adeosun, the Investment and Securities Act empowers her as the Minister of Finance to act in absence of the board.
“Mr Mounir was suspended in accordance with the public service rule. The suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.
“In absence of the board, the Minister has the power to suspend the Director General (of SEC). We have not gone outside the context of the law in suspending the DG,” Mrs Adeosun told the lawmakers.
Speaking further, the embattled SEC chief said his suspension was propelled by his refusal to stop a forensic audit of Oando Plc, which was accused of financial misconduct by one of its major shareholders, Mr Dahiru Mangal.
Mr Gwarzo accused the Minister of having special interest in Oando Plc and Oasis Insurance Company.
“I was removed from office because I refused to discontinue the forensic audit of Oando Plc, which the Minister has interest in,” he alleged.
But responding, Mrs Adeosun described as ridiculous the erstwhile SEC boss’ claims.
“It is mischievous to link the matter to Oando,” the Minister replied, emphasising that her action was mainly to “instilled confidence in the capital market, and made clear to investors that Nigeria takes seriously the issue of integrity, and that their funds, which we have worked hard to attract, are safe.”
Access Holdings Merges Sigma, FGPL for Formidable PFA Business
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
To create a formidable pension funds administration (PFA) business in Nigeria, Access Holdings Plc has merged its subsidiary, First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), with Sigma Pensions Limited.
The marriage between the two PFAs was made possible after Access Holdings acquired an indirect equity stake in Sigma.
Recall that in October, the company announced that it was buying a stake in Sigma to revolutionise the PFA sector.
On Thursday, a court approved the merger between the firm and FGPL, giving room for the organisations to become one and offer innovative products to customers.
A notice signed by the group company secretary of Access Holdings, Mr Sunday Ekwochi, confirmed the development.
“Sequel to our announcement on October 25, 2022, Access Holdings Plc, trading as Access Corporation, today announces the completion of its acquisition of an indirect equity stake in Sigma and the merger of its subsidiary, FGPL, with Sigma.
“Following the sanction of the scheme of merger between Sigma and FGPL by the Federal High Court on December 1, 2022, FGPL has been dissolved without winding up, leaving Sigma as the surviving entity,” a part of the statement dated Friday, December 2, 2022.
“Following the successful completion of the merger, our plan is to leverage the synergies of these entities, as well as the corporation’s expansive distribution network, strong risk management culture and best-in-class governance standards to create a formidable pension funds administration business,” the group chief executive of Access Holdings, Mr Herbert Wigwe, stated.
FrieslandCampina Buoys Unlisted Securities Market by 1.11%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange returned to the positive zone on Friday, December 2, as it appreciated by 1.11 per cent at the close of business.
This was driven by a gain in the stock price of FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc. The company appreciated by N5.29 price to close at N66.63 per share versus the previous day’s price of N61.34 per share.
This outweighed the 1 Kobo loss recorded by UBN Property Plc during the session as the price of the property investment company went down to 91 Kobo per unit from the preceding session’s 92 Kobo.
When the market closed for the day, the total value of the unlisted securities market increased by N10.27 billion to N933.71 billion from N923.44 billion.
In the same vein, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) stretched by 7.82 basis points to 710.58 basis points from the 702.76 basis points in the previous session.
During the session, there was a surge in the volume of securities by 140,993.7 per cent as investors exchanged 2.2 million units, in contrast to the previous day’s 14,508 units.
Likewise, the value of shares traded at the session ballooned by 1,526.6 per cent to N10.7 million from the N657,534.75 recorded a day earlier, while the number of deals improved by 400 per cent to 20 deals from four deals.
When the market closed for the day, AG Mortgage Bank Plc was the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc occupied second place with 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, while Lighthouse Financials Services Plc was in third place with 224.7 million units valued at N112.3 million.
Also, CSCS Plc ended the day as the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) by trading 687.8 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 29.1 billion units valued at N7.7 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Plc was in third place after selling 16.8 million units worth N1.9 billion.
Naira Sells N730/$1 in Black Market, N748/$1 at P2P, N445.33/$1 at I&E
By Adedapo Adesanya
Normalcy seems to have returned to the currency market in Nigeria as the Naira further appreciated against the United States Dollar at the various segments of the ecosystem.
In the Investors and Exporters (I&E) segment of the foreign exchange (forex) market, the Nigerian currency gained 50 Kobo or 0.11 per cent to quote at N445.33/$1, in contrast to Thursday’s rate of N445.83/$1.
It was observed that domestic currency withstood significant FX demand pressure during the trading session as forex traders completed transactions worth $159.02 million compared with the $99.50 million executed a day earlier, indicating a 59.1 per cent or $59.52 million increase in FX turnover.
Also, in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) window, the local currency appreciated against the greenback by N14 or 1.8 per cent to trade at N748/$1 compared with the preceding day’s N762/$1.
In the same vein, the value of the Nigerian currency to its American counterpart improved by N10 yesterday to sell for N735/$1 against N745/$1 of the preceding trading session.
However, in the interbank segment, the Naira lost N3.19 against the Euro on Friday as it closed at N464.98/€1 versus Thursday’s exchange rate of N461.79/€1, and against the Pound Sterling, it depreciated by N7.66 to quote at N542.33/£1 compared with the previous day’s N534.67/£1.
Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency market rebounded yesterday as investors showed renewed interest in digital assets, causing the value of Dogecoin (DOGE) to rise by 2.6 per cent to $0.1016.
Further, Cardano (ADA) recorded a 1.8 per cent increase to sell at $0.3189, Ethereum (ETH) saw its value go up by 1.3 per cent to close at $1,289.56, and Solana (SOL) appreciated by 1.4 per cent to trade at $13.65.
In addition, Binance Coin (BNB) grew by 1.1 per cent to settle at $291.72, Litecoin (LTC) appreciated by 1.0 per cent to trade at $77.23, Ripple (XRP) made a 0.9 per cent rise to finish at $0.3924, and Bitcoin (BTC) rose by 0.5 per cent to $17,030.33.
However, the US Dollar Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) closed flat at $1.00 on Friday.
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