Stories by Chinenye Anuforo and Chinwendu Obienyi
recent calls in several quarters for the Federal Government to reinstate the suspended Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mournir Gwarzo back to office, have drawn the ire of capital market stakeholders who gave reasons why the embattled DG should remain suspended.
According to them, reinstating him to the office while investigation on him is still on would could be counter-productive since he might tamper with the result of the investigation.
Media reports had attempted to link that Gwarzo’s suspension to his position on Oando crisis. But, most of the stakeholders spoken to by Daily Sun rebuffed the report saying the two issues were different and should not be mixed up.
Specifically, Mr. Gbadebo Olatokunbo, a shareholder activist and Co-Founder of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), for instance, stated that the former SEC DG should face allegations against him and clear his name. “He shouldn’t hide under the cover of doing his job on Oando. People should not tie Oando issues to such serious allegations. They are two different things. Those working in SEC are doing their job. So, what they are telling me is that when those working in SEC, err, they should not be called to order? People take serious issues with sentiment and so on and so forth. Whatever duty Gwarzo was doing in SEC, was not for himself as he was being paid to do it and that is to regulate the market. So, if he erred, he should face the music.”
He said, “they are making it look as if it is because of Oando, he was suspended. No, Oando issue is different. In fact, I don’t even like Oando. Oando deserves tougher sanctions, for cheating on investors, because they had refused to pay the right returns on investment for sometime as an oil company, like others in the sector, despite their several advantages as an on/off shores oil company.”
However, Olatokunbo stated that crime is a crime and the Oando management had accepted guilt, then why not sanction them personally, and not the company Oando?, he asked.
For Chikwelu Chukwujindum, a stockbroker, the allegations against Gwarzo are weighty and are such that cannot and should not be swept under the carpet.
He said Nigerians must commend the Finance Minister for having the courage to suspend Gwarzo to allow for proper investigation into the charges against him.
For Gwarzo himself, “this is an opportunity for him to clear his name. It is an opportunity for him to prove that his stewardship as SEC DG was not an avenue to corruptly enrich himself and his family members and friends,” he said.
Similarly, the Chairman, Ibandan Zone Shareholders Association, Mr. Eric Akinduro, stated that the former DG should remain under suspension in order not to interfere with the outcome of the investigation. He said, “My view about this is that he should be under suspension pending the time they investigate whether he is guilty or not, he should not be recalled back because there is no way he will not interfere with it. But, let there be transparency in the whole process.”
For his part, Mr. Moses Igbrude, another shareholder activist said, “First of all, the allegations leveled against him might be true and at the same time, not true, so whatever the case might be, let there be transparency. I don’t want anybody victimised because at the end of the day, it is the market that will suffer.”
On whether he should be recalled before the outcome of the investigation, he said, “Let status quo remain, in order to achieve better result. But, let the National Assembly be involved in the ongoing investigation, if he is guilty then let him be punished accordingly. But then, it took so long before the decision to suspend him was taken. This shows that our so called due process is slow to react to issues like this, so let there be an independent audit and let us do things right too.”
For Timothy Adesiyan, Patron, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association, Gwarzo’s recall to the office without completion of his investigation would be wrong. “To ascertain if allegations against Gwarzo are true, the investigation must be thorough and if he is recalled before conclusion of the process, then, it is not thorough again. So, he should hold on and clear himself and the people investigating him should check if other people collected the severance package the way he did. So that, it will not look as if it is a fight against his personality”.
Corroborating, Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), said it was important that the former DG remains on suspension, to enable the administrative panel to inquire, investigate and determine the culpability of suspended DG and his cohorts.
“The Sponsored report about Oando forensic audit as being responsible for Gwarzo’s suspension is a deliberate and diversionary tactics to mislead the public attention away from the weighty allegation bothering corruption. The right thing has been done by the government and we support the action taken”.
The Union therefore, said that, “it is extremely important that he clears his name from these allegations for the purpose of integrity in the capital market.