Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun and suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo both maintained their positions while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market.
Gwarzo was placed on suspension in November 17, 2017. He was accused of holding interests in private companies that were awarded contracts by the SEC. He was also accused of paying himself a severance fee of N104 million, despite still being employed by the commission.
The Minister, in her testimony based her action on the need to protect sanctity in the capital market, and maintain investor confidence. Documents obtained from the Corporate Affairs Commission, show Gwarzo was a director in two private companies, which was a violation of the Civil Service Act. This is also a breach of the Investment and Securities Act. Outbound investments one of the companies involved had business transactions with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Christopher Gabriel, Director of Legal Services Ministry of Finance stated that Gwarzo was given right of hearing to an administrative panel set up by the Minister of Finance, and he made submissions. Adeosun also refuted allegations that herself and relatives of hers had shareholding in Oando Plc. In several instances, friends of hers had been sanctioned by the SEC.
Gwarzo in his submission stated that he was instructed to halt the forensic audit on affairs of Oando Plc. Following his refusal to do so, he was asked to either resign or be suspended. His appointment as DG was a fresh one, not a promotion.
He also defended his receipt of a severance package, stating that similar practices were applied to the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Previous severance packages were not approved by the board, but as stated in its operational manual. In addition, he also accused the minister of taking an interest in matters involving BGL Plc, Oasis Insurance and Ikeja hotels Plc.
Gwarzo’s counsel also stated that his suspension did not hold water because it was based on provisions of the Public Service Rule that did not exist.
CAC sets 3-hour time line for company registration in 2021
The CAC is prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has said that following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it was now prioritising the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of the year 2021.
This is coming after CAC had in November 2020, announced the implementation of new technology that will change the face of business registration including allowing customers to print their certificates with verifiable QR code from anywhere in the world.
This disclosure was made by the Registrar-General of the commission, Garba Abubakar, at a dinner in honour of the Chairman, Governing Board, CAC and Nigerian Ambassador-Designate to the Kingdom of Spain, Ademola Seriki.
In order to achieve this target, the Registrar-General said the commission was making arrangements to empower over 400 approving officers with working tools to process and approve registration applications either from home or anywhere necessary,” the agency stated.
Abubakar noted that the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely hampered CAC’s delivery timeline.
He, however, pointed out that CAC was resolutely committed to serving its customers despite being forced to operate with less than 50% of its workforce.
While bidding farewell to Seriki, the Registrar-General said he received the news of his appointment with mixed feelings as CAC was going to miss his tremendous support and guidance.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, described the outgoing CAC Chairman as a man of immense pedigree and endowed with enormous potential to justify the confidence reposed in him by the president.
In case you missed it
- The CAC recently announced the upgrade of its website and online registration portal to include features, which allow for the automation of some selected services and processes, in line with the Federal Government’s mandate of improving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
- The selected services and processes include Electronic search of company records, Upgraded Companies Registration Portal for Pre-incorporation filings and Post incorporation filings.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says following the successful deployment of an end-to-end registration module, it is now prioritizing the reduction of the registration circle for new companies to just 3 hours before the end of year 2021. pic.twitter.com/mMGjLN1JeS
— Corporate Affairs Commission (@cacnigeria1) April 11, 2021
DEAL: Nigerian fintech software provider, Appzone raises $10m to scale its products and services
Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa.
Appzone a fintech software provider that builds proprietary solutions for financial institutions and their banking and payments services announced that it has closed $10 million in Series A investment.
The Series A round was led by CardinalStone Capital Advisers, a Lagos-based investment firm. Other investors include V8 Capital, Constant Capital, and Itanna Capital Ventures. New York-based but Africa-focused firm Lateral Investment Partners also participated.
Founded in 2008 by Emeka Emetarom, Obi Emetarom, and Wale Onawunmi, Appzone functions as an enabler (at payment rails and the core infrastructure) within banking and payments.
Appzone platforms are used by 18 commercial banks and over 450 microfinance banks in Africa. Together, they amass a yearly transaction value and yearly loan disbursement of $2 billion and $300million.
Before now, Appzone closed a $2 million deal from South African Business Connexion (BCX) in 2014. Four years later, it raised $2.5 million in convertible debt and bought back shares from BCX in the process. But overall, the company says it has raised $15 million in equity funding.
This new funding will be used to scale its products and services and expand across more African countries. The startup also plans to achieve scale by growing its engineering team.
What they are saying
Yomi Jemibewon, the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cardinal Stone Capital Advisers, said the firm’s investment in Appzone is further proof of Africa’s potential as the future hub of world-class technology.
“Appzone is building a disruptive fintech ecosystem that will be the backbone of Africa’s finance industry with products across payments, infrastructure, and software as a service. The impact of Appzone’s work is multifold — the company’s products deepen financial inclusion across the continent whilst providing best-fit and low-cost solutions to financial institutions. Its emphasis on premium talent also helps stem brain drain, rewarding Africa’s best brains with best-in-class employment opportunities.”
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
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