The Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun has named Ms. Mary Uduk as the new Acting Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission and redeployed Dr. Abdul Zubair to External Relations Department of the Commission.
Here is an excerpt from the statement from Akintunde.
“The Minister, in a letter dated 13th April 2018, said Uduk’s appointment had become necessary to ensure effective regulation of the Capital Market. Her appointment will, subject to satisfactory performance, subsist until further notice.
“She further made the following reassignment of the under-mentioned persons; Reginald C. Karawusa, Acting Executive Commissioner, Legal, and Enforcement; Isiyaku Tilde – Acting Executive Commissioner, Operations;
The reassignment of Zubair may be connected to the recent flip-flop wherein the Security and Exchange Commission issued a spate of contradictory statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, instructing the exchange to lift the suspension placed on trading of Oando Plc shares only for it to issue a counter instruction requesting that the stock is placed on suspension again. It then issued another instruction to the Nigerian Stock Exchange requesting that the suspension should be lifted yet again.
The flip-flops sent shock waves around the capital market as investors pondered on just how bad things have gotten since last year. SEC has lacked the usual supervisory authority it once had in the capital market especially since Gwarzo was pushed out by Kemi Adeosun.
This impasse we understand embarrassed the government forcing a likely upset Kemi Adeosun to take action. From what we gather, from reliable sources with knowledge of the matter, Zubair reached out to Adeosun to apologise for the gaffe but it appears she was having none of it.
Evidence that the Ministry was visibly upset about this embarrassing gaffe was contained in the statement issued by its officials.
“Federal Ministry of Finance has requested for a formal explanation from the SEC of the recent communications between the Commission and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which adversely impacted market confidence.”
From what we gather several calls were placed to the office of the Minister requesting for a clarification of the apparent flip-flops in the suspension of Oando’s shares from trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
SEC in turmoil
The Security and Exchange Commission has been in turmoil ever since it waded into the shareholder debacle between Alhaji Mangal, Gabriele Volpi, Mofe Boye and Wale Tinubu. Following the suspension of Oando’s stock and a launch of a SEC induced investigation, former SEC DG, Gwarzo was then suspended following an allegation of a ‘Golden Handshake”. He remained suspended even after an investigation by an Administrative Panel set up by the House of Representative.
In this time, The Security and Exchange Commission has been a shadow of itself with little information shared on its website. Data is hard to come by and they are slow to react to controversies trailing the operations of the capital market as well as the ever-increasing demand for transparency and accountability required.
A typical example was this Oando Flip-flop. It took SEC a whole day to issue a press release explaining the reason for lifting the suspension of trading of Oando stock. And when it did, it failed to explain in clear detail why it sent contradictory instructions and who was ultimately responsible for the embarrassment.
The world had to rely on a press release issued Wednesday evening by the Nigerian Stock Exchange to understand the reason for the flip-flop.
Back to basics
With his removal, Dr. Zubair returns to the External Relations department of the Commission as Director and now reports to Uduk whom he ‘bossed’ just hours before. He has lost an opportunity to perhaps replace Gwarzo as the permanent DG and will now hope to bounce back, perhaps in a different capacity in a different parastatal in future.
About Mary Uduk
Mary Uduk has been in the commission since 1986 served as the pioneer Head of the Operations Division in the Lagos Zonal Office and has headed the following Departments in the Commission: Internal Control, Investment Management, Financial Standards and Corporate Governance and Securities, and Investment Services Department, among others.
From what we understand about Uduk, she is a very Principled Financial Analyst and quite open to fresh ideas. However, a concern is the fact that she has been with SEC for over 30 years and is basically a chip off the old block. Analysts worry that she might be agnostic to the drastic change which is required in SEC.