Adeosun happy with SEC

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has said that the decision to suspend the former Director General (DG) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, paid off.
According to her, the decision helped to instill confidence in Nigeria’s capital market as well as its investors.
“I think that the position that we took to suspend Mr Mounir was the right one, it instilled confidence in the Capital Market. It told investors that Nigeria takes seriously, issues of integrity and that their funds which we work very very hard to attract into Nigeria, are safe,” she said.
Adeosun made this known on Tuesday while addressing members of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions.
The former SEC DG had questioned the Finance Minister’s legality to suspend him and with the growing controversy, the committee was set up to help resolve the conflict between the two government officials.
The hearing had commenced on December 21, 2017, but was rescheduled for January 2018, due to Adeosun’s absence.
Also present at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, Gwarzo faulted the public service rule quoted by the Minister of Finance in his letter of suspension, dated November 29, 2017.
“I refer to your representation dated November 8, 2017, and further enquiries undertaken by this Ministry and based on the information available to this ministry. I have been convinced of the need for a thorough investigation to be undertaken. In order to ensure an unhindered process. You are hereby suspended from office from the date of this letter,” he read.
Highlighting the last paragraph of the letter, Gwarzo insisted that the quoted public service rule actually did not exist, hence insisting that Adeosun had no power to suspend him.
“This suspension is in line with the public service rule 03405 and public service rule 03406 pending the conclusion of the investigation.
“What we are saying is, this public service rule that she quoted does not exist in the public service rule. Her intention is to make reference to 030405 rather than 03405. That 03405 does not give the Honourable Minister the power to suspend the DG of SEC,” he added.
Responding to his comments, Adeosun explained that there were so many allegations, some of which were yet to be confirmed.
She, however, noted that Gwarzo was given a fair audience in the course the earlier investigations, hence justifying the position of the Ministry.
“There were so many allegations some of which were not substantiated and we have discountenanced them but there are three significant ones that administrative panel has looked into.
“Mr Mounir was called, he was given right of audience, he came, he has made written submissions and therefore, we believe that our decision to suspend Mr Mounir was vindicated,” she said.
With several allegations of corruption levelled against him, the Minister believes the government owes it to Nigerians to take the necessary steps against anyone found guilty of such crimes rather than wait till it becomes a case of national embarrassment.
She said: “We cannot have somebody sitting at the helm of affairs and to suggest that it’s only when EFCC arrests them that they can be removed, that’s not good for Nigeria.
“We don’t have to wait for our officers to be paraded in Handcuffs before the international community before we take action.
“We made a solemn oath to serve the people and we must sometimes have to make very tough and unpalatable decisions.
“The allegation that I gave an instruction that the Forensic Audit should stop is laughable and I’m sure you saw the SEC team laughing because they know that that work is ongoing even as we speak – so it is not true and it is mischievous to even suggest,” the Minister added.
Meanwhile the Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up to intervene in the conflict between the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and the suspended DG of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has recommended the dismissal of Mr Gwarzo, from the Public Service of the Federal Government.
The Panel at the resumed hearing on Tuesday, also recommended that the suspended SEC Director-General be referred to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for further investigation of the allegation of using his position to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited.
Furthermore, the panel directed Gwarzo to refund the sum of N104,851,154.94 being the severance package he approved and received.
It also noted that holding the position of the DG of SEC as well as, director in two private companies (Medusa Investment Limited and Outbound Investments Limited) was in breach of public service rule 030424, public service rule 030402 and Section 6 of the Investment and Securities Act, ISA 2007.
Other issues of concern revolved around allegations that Gwarzo had diverted for personal use, three cars that the SEC had purchased as project vehicles.
The Panel, therefore, advised the Federal Government to re-orientate public servants to the very fact that the Public Service Rules and Financial Regulations are ground norms of every Government Service Contract, be it at the Federal, State or Local Government levels.
It added, “Accordingly, all Government Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies should be made to understand that the PSR and FR are superior to whatever specific legislations and domestic arrangements that guide their operations, except when such issues were not covered by any provision of the PSR.”