Disturbed by the continued absence of a board for the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, which is the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market some concerned shareholders have made a passionate appeal to Federal Government to constitute a board for the commission and resolve all issues surrounding the suspension of the former Director General of the commission Munir Gwarzo.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun suspended the then Director General over allegations of financial impropriety levelled against the DG. Also placed on suspension were Abdulsalam Naif Habu, head of media division, and Anastastia Omozele Braimoh, head of legal department of the commission.
Accusations and Counter-Accusations
An Administrative Panel of Inquiry was set up to look into allegations levelled against the suspended Director-General 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.
Gwarzo in his defence however stated that the payments were not illegal, but were approved by the board. The ‘Golden handshake’ was to enable the commission create room for younger talent.
Gwarzo while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market Affairs stated that similar payments had been made to his predecessors.
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.
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
Finance Minister, Adeosun insists that the suspension was a result of allegations of his misconduct. The Minister of Finance revealed that the decision to suspend Gwarzo was a move to protect the capital market.
National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adeniyi Adebisi said people bearing the brunt of what is happening in SEC are the shareholders.
“The government should constitute board so that things can move in the right direction.” Adebisi said
In his opinion, Chairman of Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association of Nigeria (IZSAN), Mr. Eric Akinduro said the international community is watching and the more the delay the more it will affect confidence in the market.
Capital markets globally thrive on confidence and this confidence is based solely on the integrity of the regulator hence, the government must do the needful by taking far reaching decision such that recent gains recorded by the Nigerian capital markets will not be eroded.