Oando probe: Adeosun battles Gwarzo, says I won’t succumb to blackmail
The Minister of Finance,Mrs Kemi Adeosun, on Friday said no amount of blackmail by the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, would make her stop the Administrative Panel of Inquiries probe of the embattled SEC DG .
The minister said this during a chat with journalists at the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.
Adeosun described as untrue, claims by the suspended DG, that she attempted to stop the forensic audit by SEC into the activities of Oando Plc.
She wondered why Gwarzo could resort to peddling falsehood when in fact he was given a right of fair hearing through an administrative query.
Adeosun said that she decided to speak now to set the records straight, because the actions so far taken by Gwarzo since his suspension by the government is capable of eroding investors’ confidence in the capital market.
She described the allegations against Gwarzo as very weighty as the ministry is in possession of records that shows inconsistencies in the handling of the affairs of the commission by the suspended DG.
Adeosun said, “Mr. Gwarzo has alleged that his suspension was due to his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando Plc.
“I would not have ordinarily responded in view of her responsibility for the approval of the Constitution and Terms of Reference for the Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the allegations against Mr. Gwarzo.
“However, given the degree of speculations and the potential impact on the capital market, there is a need to set the records straight as follows:
“The integrity of the capital market is vital to the growth of the Nigerian economy and must be managed in an orderly and transparent manner to ensure investors’ confidence. Its leadership must maintain and be seen to maintain the highest standards of integrity.
“That the original decision taken by SEC on October 20, 2017 to suspend the shares of Oando Plc and conduct a forensic audit, was approved and endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“The SEC team, led by Mr. Mounir presented adequate evidence to the minister of finance and her team, that Oando Plc had a clear case to answer with regard to infractions of the Investment and Securities Act.
She added, “No contrary evidence has been presented and thus, the investigative work on Oando and all other ongoing investigations being undertaken by SEC in the discharge of its statutory functions have continued. Indeed, our information is that the forensic auditors have resumed at Oando.
“For the avoidance of doubt, there was no directive whatsoever to discontinue investigation into Oando and this was reiterated to the current SEC leadership at the formal handover meeting. The fact that the investigation has continued further corroborates that this is the minister’s position.”
Explaining the timing of Gwarzo’s suspension, she said this was in line with the Public Service Rules so as to allow for an unhindered investigation of serious allegations of financial impropriety against him.
She said some of the allegations with documented evidence include the awards of contracts to companies related to him and members of his family. Punch