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Oando shareholders, others push for reinstatement of SEC’s director-general

By Otei Oham, Abuja
08 December 2017   |   4:12 am
Shareholders of Oando Plc, under the aegis of Trusted Shareholders Association, have described as unnecessary the suspension of the Director-General...

Mounir Gwarzo, Director General Securities and Exchange Commission

Back Reps’ probe of suspension, forensic audit
Shareholders of Oando Plc, under the aegis of Trusted Shareholders Association, have described as unnecessary the suspension of the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mournir Gwarzo, by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun.

The association’s chairman, Alhaji Mukhtah Mukhtah, who briefed newsmen yesterday, said the action of the minister amounted to “inference”, saying that the minister has now become the protector of a company accused of impropriety.

Gwarzo was last week suspended over corruption allegations, and finance minister instituted a panel of inquiry to probe the matter.

Consequently, the House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to investigate the circumstances that led to the suspension and mandated its Committee on Capital Market and Institutions to probe the matter and report back within two weeks.

The lawmakers also directed that all parties should maintain status quo pending the outcome of the investigation, with some members calling for DG’s immediate recall.

Also yesterday, some civil societies and stakeholders, under the aegis of Truth and Transparency Initiative, said the reason given by Adeosun was “clearly a subterfuge” as she failed to act on the said allegations over 10 months ago.

“The minister has, by her own admission, decided to dust it up now that there is so much dust over the decision of Gwarzo to perform what he was appointed to do, that is sanitising the capital market and ensuring that public companies are run well, thereby instilling investors’ confidence,” the co-ordinator of the Initiative, Mr. Nnodu Okeke, said.

Okeke said shareholders had been vociferous in their call on SEC to look into the rot in Oando Plc and that Gwarzo acted as a good regulator by ordering for a forensic audit of the oil firm.

He said the Oando management was for reasons best known to it not comfortable with the forensic audit, saying: “They have done all they could find in the books to stop the audit, including going to court, and failed.

“The action of the minister is a slap on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption agenda, and, just as the House of Representatives has resolved, should be reversed immediately.”

He said a statement by the current SEC management to go ahead with the forensic audit was “an attempt to pool the wool across the eyes of the public. It is a disguised attempt to bury a proper forensic audit as insisted on by Gwarzo. He has to go back to office and finish the job.”