The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo and two others have been suspended from office by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun as government launches investigation into several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against the top official.
According to a statement by Patricia Deworitshe, Deputy Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Finance, “the suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.”
“The Honourable Minister has set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of the Director-General.
“She has directed the suspended SEC Director-General to immediately handover to the most senior officer at the Commission, pending the conclusion of investigation by the API.
“Also suspended are two management staff of the Commission – Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division and Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of Legal Department – who have been alleged to engage in financial impropriety in the Commission.”
Meanwhile, Gwarzo is facing at least two enquiries over his role as helmsman of the commission since 2015.
Apart from the administrative enquiry ordered by the Minister of Finance, Gwarzo is also being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC wants to unravel the owners of the nine companies that were awarded contracts by the SEC under Gwarzo.
They include Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investments Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communications, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Balfort International Investment Limited and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Limited.
According to the EFCC, Gwarzo, his wife and other cronies allegedly used these companies to carry out illegal transactions in SEC.
Gwarzo replaced Ms. Arunma Oteh, who resigned in January 2015. Gwarzo was then the Commissioner in charge of operations.
Gwarzo allegedly paid himself N104m severance package when he was appointed DG SEC from the position of a Director in the same commission.
This is in total disregard to the standing rule in the civil service which states that severance benefit can only be paid to an employee who has concluded his or her service or has completely disengaged from service.
Since Gwarzo was promoted within the commission to become a Director-general, the service rule says that he is not yet entitled to a severance package.