More revelations are expected to emerge this week from the on-going investigations of alleged financial impropriety against the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, even as the fight between him and the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, becomes messier by the day.
The suspended DG, who was grilled last week by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes (ICPC) is still being probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the ministry.
It would be recalled that some of the sundry allegations levelled against the embattled SEC boss were fraudulent collection of about N140 million as severance benefit as ex-Executive Commissioner in the commission and breach of corporate governance code especially in award of contracts to firms where he has interest.
But, rather than allow the course of justice, Gwarzo opened a can of worms by linking his ordeal to the ongoing forensic audit of Oando Plc, a sharp twist in the drama.
According to a statement by the Special Adviser, Media and Communications to the Minister, Mr Oluyinka Akintunde, Gwarzo’s account of his suspension saga was a mere attempt to blackmail Adeosun.
The statement explained that “there was no directive whatsoever to discontinue investigations into Oando and this was reiterated to the current SEC leadership at the formal handover meeting.”
Insisting that Gwarzo’s suspension was in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRS) to allow for unhindered investigation of financial impropriety against him, the ministry added that the action became imperative given the evidence and credible reports that sensitive documents were being unlawfully removed from SEC.
Meanwhile, the face-off between these two top government officials has ostensibly divided capital market players and observers as allegedly politically-motivated protests for and against the action surfaced in parts of the country last week.
While some shareholders of Oando, who are loyal to Gwarzo have given Adeosun ultimatum to resign from her job, the minister is however, believed to be mustering support from a certain section of the media.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), a non-profit making organisation led by Comrade Debo Adeniran, is bent to defend their petition to the Presidency and House of Representatives against Gwarzo.
On the other hand, the capital market appears to be unperturbed with the suspension of its regulator’s head, even as normal business activities continued in the offices of SEC, including its headquarters in Abuja.
Stakeholders are nonetheless, cautious in commenting on the development, apparently for fear of possible sanctions, depending on the outcome of the investigations.
But, Dr Adi Bongo of the Lagos Business School, expressed disappointment with the turn of events at SEC, adding that, there is something critically wrong with the regulatory governance system.
However, market observers are worried that the main issue of corruption is being avoided and believe that the last of the unfolding drama has not been heard, especially with the political dimension that the matter seems to be assuming.