The House of Representatives yesterday directed the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to reinstate the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo.
In a unanimous vote, the House directed that status quo be maintained until the outcome of the investigation to be carried out by the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market & Institutions within two weeks. The motion was unanimously adopted after it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
SEC also yesterday reiterated its decision to conduct a forensic exercise into the activities of Oando. In a letter to Oando, the Commission stated that it remains committed to the thorough investigation of the allegations against the indigenous oil and gas company.
In a statement by Head of Corporate Communications, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bagudu Waziri, the apex capital market regulator assured the general public of its zero tolerance to infractions in the Nigerian capital market.
Oando has repeatedly denied allegations that formed the basis of the two petitions that triggered SEC’s investigation and the leading oil and gas company had insisted that where infractions had been committed, they did not warrant the call for forensic audit in line with extant rules and guidelines at the capital market.
The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion of urgent national importance by Diri Duoye (PDP, Bayelsa), who alleged that the conflict between Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the suspended DG, Mounir Gwarzo over Oando forensic audit and corruption allegation were major factors in the events that led to the suspension.
“The conflict has led to the suspension of the DG, SEC alongside Head Legal Department and Head Media on the 29th November, 2017. It has also led to the set up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry and appointment of Ag DG by the Minister of Finance. It worthy of note that the conflict has allegedly lingered for several months between Ministry of Finance and Securities and Exchange Commission but the matter of disagreement brought it into the public domain,” Diri stated.
According to him, there were allegations of interference by the Ministry of Finance in the discharge of SEC’s responsibilities, with the Oando forensic audit matter being largely responsible for the DG’s suspension.
He noted that the intervention by the House will put the matter into proper perspective and contribute to amicable resolution of the conflict in order to protect the image of the Securities and Exchanges Commission in the interest of both local and foreign investors.
In his contribution, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) said a thorough investigation is necessary in order to forestall the ugly past experience that led to the stock market crisis in the past.
“Nigerians should know why the DG was sacked. A total panel of inquiry is needed in SEC,” Okechukwu said.
In his remarks, Sani Kaita (APC, Katsina) pointed out that SEC is a very sensitive and very important organisation to Nigeria and the international community and the House should be involved in the investigation of the issues.