SEC DG Under Fire as Reps Move to Probe Him

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The House of Representatives has concluded plans to probe the embattled Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, following reports that he illegally paid himself N104.8 million as severance package for serving as Executive Commissioner of SEC for two years and four months. This was before he was appointed Director-General on May 22, 2015.
Chairman of the Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, revealed to journalists over the weekend, that the lawmakers have also concluded arrangement to investigate other allegations against the SEC DG including the ones where he was said to have awarded contracts to companies owned by him and his close relatives.
Yusuf stated that the House will commence investigations into allegations of fraudulent practices levelled against Gwarzo this week. He noted however that though the committee had not received any petition against Gwarzo regarding these allegations, the lower chamber would open investigations into the matter based on media reports. He added that the probe was necessary considering the need to maintain investors’ confidence, which could be affected by the scandal.
The lawmaker said, “I have not received the said petition on the matter. But I, like other Nigerians, have noticed that these issues have been in the media of late.
“As representatives of the people, whose responsibility is first and foremost, to ensure investor confidence and trust in the capital market of which SEC is the regulator, we will seek to know the fact of the matter. We can invite the Director-General. We can write him to appear before us, but first, I want us to meet as a committee.”
It would be recalled that Gwarzo had requested SEC to pay him severance benefit after serving as the Executive Commissioner following which the commission through a memo dated May 26, 2015, sought the advice of Mr. Chukwuogor Frana, the acting Head of the commission’s Legal Department, on Gwarzo’s request.
Frana in his response vide a memo dated May 27, 2015 advised the commission against granting the request made by Mr. Gwarzo, stating that the fact that he remained in the employ of SEC disqualified him from being paid a severance package.
Gwarzo however insisted, citing an extract of the SEC Board Meeting held on July 11, 2002, arguing that he was entitled to a severance package. Against the legal advice, SEC went ahead and paid the severance package into Gwarzo’s Guaranty Trust Bank account.
The SEC DG was also accused of several other fraudulent activities such as usurping public properties for and illegally awarding contracts to companies belonging to himself or his close relatives.
There are documents that reveal Gwarzo approved the appointment of Outbound Investment Limited, which has two of his brothers-in-law, Messrs. Suleiman Mustapha and Kaloma Dahiru Mustapha, as directors, as the sole supplier of diesel to the agency.
The company was said to have executed numerous other contracts awarded by SEC including the supply of air conditioners to SEC’s zonal office in Lagos and refrigerators to the commission.
Media reports have it that the SEC boss, who worked as Executive Commissioner before former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed him as the Director-General of SEC on May 22, 2015, to succeed Arunma Oteh, allegedly requested for N104.8 million as his severance package only four days after he received his appointment letter as DG, claiming he was entitled to it.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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