By Umar Muhammad Puma
Minister of finance Kemi Adeosun has insisted that the suspension of Munnir Gwarzo from as the Director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was for the protection of the integrity of the commission.
Speaking before the House of Representatives committee on capital market and institutions, at a public hearing on the “Need to intervene in the conflict between the minister of finance and the suspended director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission , Adeosun told the lawmakers that the report of an administrative panel of investigation set up by the Ministry to probe allegations against the DG would be submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari later yesterday.
She said her decision to suspend Gwarzo on October 19, 2017 was to protect the capital market from any unforeseen negative impact of the controversies surrounding the DG following documents revealing his involvement with two private companies, of which one was doing business with SEC.
Adeosun who expressed regrets over the fuss which the controversy had generated, given its potential to negatively rob-off on the capital market told lawmakers that findings by the investigative panel set up to look into allegations against Gwarzo revealed that the suspended DG remains signatory to accounts of both Medusa Investment Ltd and OutBound Ventures Lt.
She said Gwarzo did not only remain in control of both firms against the provision of the Public Service Rules, he recently requested for debit cards to the companies’ accounts with an unnamed commercial bank.
While denying any interfering with the Commission’s regulatory decision on Oando Plc in its crisis with shareholders, Adeosun informed the committee that the case against Gwarzo had nothing to with his decision to audit Oando, adding that a whistle blower had submitted loads of documents alleging gross abuse of office and misconduct against him.
She said: “Allegations against Mr. Mounir have been everywhere in the public domain, even in Sahara Reporters but we didn’t regard any of that due to lack of concrete evidence against him. But when a bundle of documents detailing Mr. Mounir’s activities as DG SEC relating to groos misconduct were brought to our ‘Whistle Blower Unit’, we had no option but to look into it.”
Gwarzo, while arguing that the Minister’s action in suspending him was in violation of the Act establishing SEC, however admitted owning one of the companies, Medusa Enterprises, saying that he resigned his position on the company’s board, just as he did with Outbound Ventures Ltd which he said is owned by his brother in-law.
He said while Medusa had never transacted any business with SEC either before or after his emergence as DG, he alluded to the fact that Outbound which is owned by his in-law was contracted to supply diesel to the Commission, saying there was no time the company defaulted in the execution of its job.
Asked to mention when the company started supplying diesel to the commission, Gwarzo could not answer, arguing that “it’s a company owned by Nigerians and there’s nothing wrong with SEC asking them to make supplies just like any other company could have done”, he said.