The Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up to look into allegations against the suspended Director- General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo revealed that 44 staff of the SEC got a ‘Golden handshake’ which amounted to ₦1.7 billion. The payments were reportedly made without budgetary approval, and in breach of due process.
As part of the Panel’s recommendation, Gwarzo should be dismissed from service and made to refund the severance package. In addition, he may face the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
Details of the package
One of the directors was paid N85.3 million, while the other received N84.6 million. The 12 deputy directors were paid N70.5 million each. The 5 assistant directors got an average of N46 million each.
Gwarzo in his defence however stated that the payments were not illegal, but were apporoved by the board. The ‘Golden handshake’ was to enable the commission create room for younger talent.
“When I came into office I realized that the top management was very heavy and we needed to bring incentives for people to take and retire, to create room for fresh energy. Because government had stopped foreign training, we had to use the sub-head for foreign training and vire the funds there to pay the Golden Handshake, which was approved by the Board and the process.”
Gwarzo while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market Affairs stated that similar payments had been made to his predecessors. If senior officers could have access to payments running into hundreds of millions, then, there is no telling the kind of damage that goes on within the commission.
He denied all forms of wrongdoing insisting that all payments were approved by the Board of the Commission.
What happens next ?.
Although,Gwarzo, claims he was suspended (and currently being witch hunted), for refusing to halt the forensic audit conducted on the affairs of Oando Plc, Adeosun insists that the suspension was a result of allegations of his misconduct. The Minister of Finance maintains her stance as a move to protect the capital market.