SEC DG Suspended to Protect Capital Market Integrity—Adeosun Tells Reps
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has informed the House of Representatives why she suspended the erstwhile Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo.
Speaking on Tuesday at an investigative panel set up by the lower chamber of the National Assembly, the Minister described the decision to punish the regulatory chief as “right.”
She said government’s action on the suspended SEC chief instilled confidence in the nation’s capital market.
According to her, a high standard of propriety and integrity is required from capital market operators, and even more from the capital market regulator.
Mrs Adeosun said, “We followed due process in the suspension of the SEC DG. The allegations against him, submitted to our Whistleblowing Unit, were thoroughly investigated, and we gave him a chance to respond and defend himself.
“The DG’s response to our query contradicted the evidence from our investigations—evidence from CAC & from bank records showing that not only was he still a Director in the companies in question, but also that he remained a signatory to their accounts.”
The Minister said further that, “A high standard of propriety and integrity is required from capital market operators, and even more from the capital market Regulator.
“Unfortunately the suspended DG did not live up to these standards, and disciplinary action was taken in line with due process.”
She stressed that, “The decision to suspend the SEC DG was the right one.
“It 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.”
Mr Gwarzo was suspended in November 2017. 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 following the resignation of the former occupier of the seat, Ms Arunma Oteh.
Mrs Adeosun had set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of the Director-General.
His suspension was to allow unhindered investigation of fraud allegations levelled against the SEC boss.
Also suspended were the Head of Legal Department at SEC, Mrs Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, and Head of Media in SEC, Mr Abdulsalam Naif Habu.
Both were also accused of receiving contracts from the commission through their companies.