The House of Representatives on Tuesday directed the finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, to maintain status quo on allegations of corruption against the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, which led to his suspension by the minister.
The House resolved to probe all allegations of corruption against the embattled DG, holding therefore that all actions by parties be reversed pending the outcome of the investigation.
The resolution followed the consideration and adoption of a motion raised under matters of urgent public importance titled, ‘Need to intervene on the conflict between Minister of Finance and the Suspended Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission,’ sponsored by Diri Douye (PDP, Bayelsa).
Douye in his presentation called for restraints by all parties, saying there were allegations of interference by the Ministry of Finance in the discharge of responsibility by SEC particularly the Oando forensic audit matter which was largely responsible for the DG’s suspension.
He urged the House to investigate the matter to ascertain the true situation of things in the commission.
“The House notes the conflict between Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, and the suspended Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Munir Gwazo over Oando’s forensic audit and corruption allegations,” Douye said.
“It notes that the conflict has led to the suspension of the DG, SEC, alongside the Head, Legal Department, and Head, Media on 29th November, 2017.
“It has also led to the setting up of an Administrative Panel of Inquiry and appointment of the Ag DG by the Minister of Finance.
“It equally notes that the conflict has allegedly been lingering for several months between the Ministry of Finance and the Securities and Exchange Commission; but the disagreement on Oando brought it into public domain.
“It also observes that the intervention by the House will put the matter into proper perspective and amicable resolution of the conflict in order to protect the image of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the interest of both local and foreign investors.”
Speaking on the matter, Sanni Baba Kaita (APC, Katsina) said the commission was too sensitive and important to be left unattended.
“SEC is very sensitive and very important to Nigeria and international community. Should we allow the investigation to go on without knowing what happened?” Kaita queried.
Also contributing to the motion, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) argued that the rot in SEC apparently contributed to the collapse of the capital market in Nigeria.
“What is happening in SEC is symptomatic of the collapse of the capital market. I wouldn’t know why infractions should be swept under the carpet,” Okechukwu said.
“The Nigerian people should be told why the infractions of Oando will be swept under the carpet. Nigerians should know why the minister cannot be investigated. Nigerians should know why the DG was sacked. A total panel of inquiry is needed in SEC.”
Ruling on the motion, Speaker Yakubu Dogara who presided over the session approved the prayer of mandating the Committee on Capital Market and Institutions to investigate all allegations and report to the House within two weeks.
Also, in another development, the House mandated its Committee on Power to immediately investigate the interim management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) for the delay in the execution of $300 million Nigeria Electricity and Gas Improvement Project (NEGIP).
SEC moves to audit Oando again
Meanwhile, SEC has again written to embattled Oando insisting on a forensic audit of the firm’s operations.
In a letter to Wale Tinubu, Group Chief Executive Officer of Oando, SEC said the forensic auditors “shall be at your (Oando) premises on any date from Wednesday, December 6, 2017.”