Union Rejects Gwarzo’s ‘Reinstatement’, Shuts SEC Office In Abuja

 

Some workers of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have protested against attempts to reinstate the suspended Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo.

The workers, under the auspices of Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), SEC Branch, locked up offices at the Headquarters of the agency on Monday, over attempts by the suspended DG to resume duties.

Gwarzo had been indicted for abuse of office and corruption by an Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the Federal Ministry of Finance headed by the Permanent Secretary, Dr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse.

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He was also indicted by the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee which investigated his suspension by the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

Addressing union members during the protest, ASCSN Chairman at SEC, Nelson Oleghe, stated that members have the right to reject any move they deemed to be wrong.

He said, We are SEC staff members of Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, SEC branch. We are a labour union that press home demands and concern with the welfare of members.

The suspended DG of SEC has been on suspension for almost two years, following allegations of abuse of office levelled against him.

Oleghe added, The recommendations of the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) set up by the former Honourable Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, indicted him.

The suspended DG was charged to court by ICPC. The case was poorly handled by the judge and ICPC. In all of the court cases, the issues of fraud were not mentioned and areas pointed out by the SIP were not touched by the judges.

The union chairman disclosed that they heard from a reliable source that the suspended DG after being pronounced free by the court,” wanted to stage a comeback and resume duties.

After due deliberations at an emergency meeting held on Sunday, June 02 2019, we have unanimously agreed to hold a peaceful protest to stop the purported action about to be taken by the suspended DG, he stated.

Oleghe said, We call on all staff of the union, press, and the general public to be aware and witness our action.

We believe that an institution that prescribes good corporate governance should be seen taking the lead. We say no to Gwarzo he added.

See photos below:

N104.9m Fraud: ICPC Asks Appeal Court To Dismiss Gwarzo’s Acquittal

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has filed a dismissal suit before an Abuja Court of Appeal, asking that the court set aside the acquittal granted the suspended Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo.

Gwarzo and the Executive Commissioner of SEC, Corporate Services, Zakawanu Garuba were arraigned in June 2018 before Justice Husseini Baba Yusuf of Court 4 of the FCT High Court on a 5-Count bordering on fraud.

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The commission in a statement by its spokesperson Rasheedat Okoduwa on Monday told the court that Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court, 4, erred in his ruling when he freed Gwarzo and a former Commissioner of SEC, Zakawanu Garuba of N104.9 million severance package and car allowance fraud.

Okoduwa said that counsel to the anti-graft agency, Raheem Adesina, asked the appellate court for a retrial on 12 grounds and urged that the case should be re-assigned to another judge because the reasons for Gwarzo’s acquittal were against the extant laws that set up the commission and other government agencies.

The statements also stated that the federal government was denied justice when the trial judge, Baba-Yusuf, set aside the provisions of ‘Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Act, 2008’ amended, which prescribed only N5.8 million severance package, when he ruled in favour of Gwarzo.

It argued further that it was a mockery of justice for Baba-Yusuf to rule that the SEC board has all the powers to fix the severance package and other remunerations against extant laws of the land.

The statement alleged that the trial judge ignored obvious evidence before him, and deliberately avoided interpreting the document tendered by ICPC that showed only the payment of retirement and resignation benefits was permissible for political appointees that have spent two years and above in SEC.

Prosecutor’s Absence Stalls Trial Of Suspended SEC DG Gwarzo

Gwarzo

 

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has adjourned the trial of the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, after the lead prosecutor Ibrahim Adeshina failed to show up in court for the continuation of the trial.

At the resumed hearing, a representative of the prosecutor Agbili Ezenwa told the court that his principal is out of the country and urged the court to grant an adjournment to enable him to appear at the next adjourned date.

Counsel to the former SEC DG, Abdulrasheed Al-Mustapha, in responding to the application, asked the court to direct the prosecution to open its conclude its case at the next adjourned date tenable for his client to enter a defence.

Justice Hussein Yusuf adjourned the matter to the October 18 and 19 respectively for the continuation of the trial.

Gwarzo is being arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a five-count charge of misappropriating 115 million naira.

ICPC also accused him of using his position to confer corrupt advantages upon himself when he received N104.8m as severance benefit when he was yet to retire.

He is also accused of receiving N10.98m in excess car grant among others.

ICPC Arraigns Suspended SEC DG, Gwarzo Over Alleged Fraud

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has arraigned the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, before a Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama.

He has been arraigned on charges bordering on criminal breach of trust and aiding diversion of funds.

The anti-graft commission also preferred charges against the SEC Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Zakwanu Garuba, for allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the fraud.

READ ALSO: EFCC Re-Arraigns Dasuki’s Former Military Aide

Gwarzo and his co-defendant, Zakawani Garba on Tuesday pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them before the trial judge, Justice Baba-Yusuf.

According to the charge, Gwarzo is facing trial for allegedly fraudulently enriching himself with N104.9 million which was paid to him as severance allowance while he was still in active service at the commission.

He is also accused of enriching himself with N10 million paid in excess of his official car allowances.

Garuba was accused of abusing his office by allowing the payments to Gwarzo.

The two defendants are being charged to court by the ICPC on behalf of the Federal Government.

Gwarzo’s Counsel, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, on Tuesday made application for bail. He asked the court to grant his client bail on the same terms and conditions which ICPC had done prior to the arraignment.

ICPC’s lawyer, Henry Emore in agreement said the offence for which the defendants are standing trial are bailable.

The defendants were eventually granted bail to the sum of N25 million each and one surety who must be a deputy director in the Federal Civil Service and own a landed property in Abuja.

They are were also directed to deposit their travel documents to the court registrar as part of their bail conditions.

The court adjourned the case for further hearing till June 29.

Gwarzo was suspended as SEC Boss in November 2017, by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.

On Monday, June 4, he challenged his suspension in court.

In a suit filed at the National Industrial Court Gwarzo is contending that the Minister of Finance has no power to suspend him as SEC DG and that it is only the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that can suspend him with the approval of the Senate.

Administrative Panel Recommends Gwarzo’s Dismissal From Public Service

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.

Read Also: Public Service Rule Quoted By Adeosun Does Not Exist – Gwarzo

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.”

Suspension Of SEC DG Instilled Confidence In Nigeria’s Capital Market – Adeosun

The Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun says 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 instil 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.

Read Also: Public Service Rule Quoted By Adeosun Does Not Exist – Gwarzo

“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.

Public Service Rule Quoted By Adeosun Does Not Exist – Gwarzo

The former Director General (DG) of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, on Tuesday during the House of Representatives Investigative Hearing on his suspension faulted the public service rule quoted by the Minister of Finance in his letter of suspension.

Reading from the letter, which was signed by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun dated November 29, 2017, at the hearing, Gwarzo said the rule quoted by Adeosun does not exist and doesn’t have the power to suspend him.

“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.

Drawing attention to the last paragraph of his suspension letter, Gwarzo read further.

READ ALSO: Reps Begins Investigative Hearing On Suspended SEC DG

“This suspension is in line with the public service rule 03405 and public service rule 03406 pending the conclusion of the investigation.”

He, however, claimed that this public service rule quoted by the Minister of Finance is wrong.

“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 said.

Making further reference to the Public Service Rule, Gwarzo said the Securities and Exchange Commission as a public service institution has its own policies and cannot be influenced by external factors.

“If you look at the Public Service Rule, which is 160103, it clearly states that, for an institution that already has their own policies, they should be guided by that. My letter of appointment clearly states that my letter of appointment will be governed by the provisions of the Investment and Securities Act.

“So, the question is, what instrument did the honourable Minister use or rely on in my suspension. What she quoted does not exist,” he insisted.

The public hearing on the need 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, commenced on December 21, 2017, but was rescheduled for January 2018, due to Adeosun’s absence.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Yusuf Tajudeen at the hearing, last year, read a letter from the Minister of Finance asking for permission to attend the Federal Executive Council meeting.

House Commences Hearing On Conflict Between Finance Minister, SEC DG

A public hearing on the need 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 commenced.

Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Yusuf Tajudeen, however, read a letter from the Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun asking for permission to attend the Federal Executive Council meeting.

Subsequently, the hearing was rescheduled for January 2018 because according to Mr Tajudeen, both parties have to be present.

Garwzor was suspended to allow for an unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.

Read Also: FG Appoints Acting SEC DG, After Gwarzo’s Suspension

Contrary to claims that the decision to suspend Mr Gwarzo was to stall the forensic audit of Oando Plc, the Minister of Finance said it was in accordance with laid down rules and aimed at sanitising the nation’s capital market to protect investor confidence.

Following his suspension, the Federal Government appointed Dr Abdul Zubair as the acting Director General of the commission.

SEC DG’s Suspension In Line With Public Service Rules, Says Adeosun

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has defended the Federal Government’s decision to suspend the former Director General on the Securities And Exchange Commission, Mr Mounir Gwarzo.

Adeosuofwhile addressing reporters in Abuja said the decision to suspend Mr Gwarzo is in accordance with laid down rules and aimed at sanitising the nation’s capital market to protect investor confidence.

She debunked the claim that the decision was to stall the forensic audit of Oando Plc.

“The federal Ministry of finance would like to place on record that Gwarzo suspension is in line with public service rules to allow for an unhindered investigation of serious allegations of financial impropriety against him. Some of those allegations for which we have documented evidence include the award of contracts to companies related to him and members of his family.

“It should be noted that he was issued a query by the ministry on November 3rd and he responded on November 7th. His response to the query was dimmed unsatisfactory and we ordered further investigation.

“Based on evidence from that further work, and creditable reports that documents were being unlawfully removed from SEC’s offices and our consultations with the EFCC, we took a decision that we need to suspend Mr Gwarzo,” she stated.

SEC Draws Up Plan To Push Retail Investors Involvement In Capital Market

capital marketThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has drawn up a 10-year master plan to scale up the percentage of retail investors in the Nigerian Capital Market from the current two per cent.

The plan is expected to also facilitate the clearing of the 80 billion Naira unclaimed dividends in the sector.

It was announced in Abuja on Friday at a meeting between the Director General of the Commission, Mounir Gwarzo and Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed.

Seeking the support of the Information Minister for public enlightenment, Mr Gwarzo said the master plan would deploy 101 initiatives.

One of the initiatives, according to him, is the electronic dividend currently in operation to help retail investors claim trapped dividends in the market.

He further stated that the plan would address the low involvement of retail investor in the capital market before 2025.

The Minister of Information blamed obsolete laws for the withdrawal of retail investors, whom he said were the key ingredients for the development and growth of the capital market.

SEC Pays N30 Million To ‘Unlucky’ Investors

Securities-and-Exchange-Commission(SEC)The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday said it has paid N30 million to some investors who incurred losses.

Speaking at a meeting in Abuja with judges drawn from all parts of Nigeria, the Director General of SEC, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, said the “unlucky investors” were paid from the commission’s National Investment Protection Fund.

Mr Gwarzo said the beneficiaries were paid between N5, 000 to N200, 000.

The meeting was set up to ensure speedy dispensation of justice for aggrieved investors who may be involved in one form of litigation or the other.

After soliciting their help in protecting the nation’s investors, Mr Gwarzo gave an insight into what is being done to alleviate the sufferings of investors.

The Administrator of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Roseline Bozimo and a judge, Justice Ibrahim Mohammed, who were part of the attendants, could not agree less on the need to protect investors funds at all times.

They pledged the support of the nation’s judiciary in making this a reality, as the pool of investment in the nation’s capital market increases.

They reached a consensus that the judiciary is responsible in restoring confidence and fairness for players in the sector.

Jonathan Appoints Peter Obi As Chairman Of SEC

Peter ObiPresident Goodluck Jonathan has appointed the former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, as the new Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Obi’s appointment was announced on Monday.

According to the presidency, his appointment takes immediate effect.

He was the Governor of Anambra State for two terms, between 2006 and 2014.

President Jonathan also approved the confirmation of Mr Mounir Gwarzo as Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mr Gwarzo, who has been acting as Director-General of the Commission, was appointed to the Board of the Securities and Exchange Commission as Executive Commissioner in January, 2013.

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan also relieved the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Dr. Femi Thomas, of his appointment with immediate effect and approved the appointment of Mr Olufemi Akingbade, as Acting Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer of the NHIS.

Mr Akingbade, who hails from Ekiti State and holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science as well as a Masters in Business Administration, was the General Manager, ICT in the NHIS until his new appointment.