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Shareholders back reinstatement of SEC’s director-general

By Helen Oji
03 June 2019   |   3:16 am
Shareholders have expressed satisfaction over the recent court ruling that the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo....

Mounir Gwarzo, Director General Securities and Exchange Commission

Urge speedy implementation to boost investors’ confidence

Shareholders have expressed satisfaction over the recent court ruling that the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, should be reinstated, urging Federal Government to implement the ruling with immediate effect.

The shareholders, who spoke in a separate interview with The Guardian insisted that Gwarzo was suspended without thorough investigation on the allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him during the period.They were optimistic that the court ruling, which voided his suspension, would boost investors’ confidence on the ability of the judiciary to adjudicate capital market-related cases with fairness.

Specifically, the President of Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, Eric Akindibnduro, said: “His reinstatement will instill confidence in the mind of foreign and local investors concerning our judicial system and Nigeria will be recognised as a country where rule of law prevails. This would also boost confidence in the market and attract more investors into the market.

“The transformation we are witnessing in the market today is as a result of capital market master plan initiated under his leadership. SEC has over 100 initiatives to be implemented within a period of 10-year and Gwarzo put the best brains together to formulate the policies that are pushing the market forward now.

“Amongst such are the direct cash settlement and e- dividend initiatives I could remember then that he made a statement that “multinationals have no excuse not listing on NSE” so multinationals like MTNN listing is as a result of good initiative he established.”

The Publicity Secretary of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Moses Igbrude, said: “I am happy for him that he came out of the mess with clean hands, he was falsely accused just to shame and remove him from office. He is not only vindicated, the court has also asked for his restatement, it is a welcome development and I sincerely congratulate him.

“This has shown that no matter your position in life one should be sincere and always try to do things right and stand for the truth. I appeal to the FG to obey the court ruling and reinstate him without further delay.” In his reaction, the President of New Dimension Shareholders Association, Patrick Ajudua said: “As shareholders in the capital market, the news of reinstatement of Ex DG of SEC Mournir Gwarzo is a welcome development. His vindication will bring hope to anybody who has been treated unfairly.

“For investors, it a fact that where there is rule of law, investments will thrive and investors would enjoy lawful protection of there investment. Its implication is that even in the face of unjust regulations, we can rely on the judiciary for equity and fair hearing,” he said.

Recall that barely six weeks after the Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed corruption charges against suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Industrial Court on Thursday May 30, ordered his reinstatement in office.

The Industrial Court also ordered that the government should pay him all entitlements.Justice Sanusi Kado of the Industrial Court in his judgment held that the former minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun named as the second defendant in the suit lacked the power to suspend the claimant.On November 29, Kemi Adeosun suspended Gwarzo and set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.

He was accused of collecting severance package worth N104.85 million while still in service in violation of the civil service rules.

The minister said Gwarzo was suspended from office to allow for an unhindered investigation.
Kado, who dismissed three issues raised by defence counsel through their preliminary objection, ruled that the suit was not status barred.

The judge further held that the issue in dispute was not about the position of the claimant as to the DG of the commission, but that the bone of contention was who had the power to suspend him.The judge held that the second defendant (minister of finance) did not have the power to suspend the claimant since he was not an employee of the commission.

He said that the minister, in the absence of the board, only had supervisory power, which does not include disciplinary power to suspend the DG. Kado held that it was only the permanent secretary in the ministry of finance, on the directive of the president, who had the power of suspension.

For emphasis, he said: “The minister’s role was that of recommendation”.Kado, in addition, said the administrative panel of inquiry that indicted the claimant was not a court of the law neither was it a quasi-judicial body, but just a body set up for a fact-finding duty.

He, therefore, declared that the suspension of the claimant was null, void and of no effect. Kado also declared that the recommendation of the administrative panel of inquiry set up by the second defendant, be set aside.The judge then ordered the reinstatement of the claimant as the DG of SEC to complete his five-year tenure.He further ordered that the claimant’s salaries, allowances and entitlements accrued be paid to him in full.