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.