NASS may summon him again over corruption allegations
Respite may not come the way of the embattled Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, soon as the National Assembly may summon him again to answer questions on the allegations of financial misappropriation leveled against him, The Point has learnt.
With this latest development, Gwarzo will be answering questions on his activities as the SEC boss before federal lawmakers, the second time in the past three months.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, told our correspondent that the lawmakers might invite the suspended director-general again, as soon as they conclude investigations on the allegations.
“We are ready to probe or ask questions on all allegations leveled by all parties but we believe it is necessary to do that after our investigations. We are always careful about sensitive issues in order to prevent eroding foreign investors’ confidence in the capital market,” he said.
Our correspondent learnt from a source at the National Assembly that Gwarzo risked a 15-year jail term, if found guilty in a law court of the allegations leveled against him.
SEC also recommended the payment of 500 per cent of the amount involved by anybody convicted of defrauding the market.
Meanwhile, Gwarzo is expected to appear on December 4 before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission as part of investigations into corruption allegations against him.
The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had last Wednesday suspended Gwarzo and two other officials of the commission for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.
Adeosun, who also set up an administrative panel of inquiry to probe the allegations against the SEC boss, directed Gwarzo to hand over the affairs of the commission to the most senior director while he proceeded on suspension.
However, findings revealed that the suspended SEC DG had written a memo to the finance minister on November 28, 2017, in which he inferred that Adeosun had attempted to interfere with the forensic audit of Oando Plc.
According to him, the verbal directive by the minister that SEC should discontinue the audit and hold a tripartite meeting with legal officers of the commission, Oando and the Federal Ministry of Finance with the purpose of coming up with penalties, which would be issued to top officials of the oil marketing firm in their personal capacities for payment, would put to question the independence and integrity of the commission.
Gwarzo had stated in the memo, “It is important to stress that an action such as that proposed above will definitely put to question the independence and integrity of the commission, while also completely eroding the confidence of both local and international investors in the Nigerian capital market.
“Furthermore, as you may be aware, the activities around the investigation of Oando Plc are being closely monitored by the local and global investment community and they eagerly expect the outcome of the exercise. It is, therefore, not in the best interest of our recovering economy that the forensic audit is not seen to be conducted in an independent and transparent manner as proposed by the commission.”
But, the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Oluyinka Akintunde, dismissed Gwarzo’s claims in the memo as being an afterthought and diversionary, adding that the suspended SEC DG had conveniently avoided the issues that led to his suspension and that Adeosun had nothing to do with the Oando case.