Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s finance minister has denied allegations that she gave directive to the suspended director general of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir H. Gwarzo, to discontinue investigations into Oando for financial recklessness and infractions of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA).
Gwarzo has alleged that his suspension was due to “his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando Plc.
Reacting to reports that she directed SEC to discontinue the forensic audit of Oando, failing which Gwazo was suspended, the minister said Gwarzo’s suspension was in line with public service rules (PSRs), to allow for an unhindered investigation of serious allegations of financial impropriety against him.
In a statement by her media aide, Oluyinka Akintunde, the ministry claims there are allegations filed against Gwazo, with documented evidence, including the awards of contracts to companies related to him and members of his family.
“It should be noted that Gwarzo was queried by the ministry on November 3 and he responded on November 7, 2017. His response to the query was deemed unsatisfactory and further investigation was ordered, the statement read, adding that based on the evidence from that further work and creditable reports that documents were being unlawfully removed from SEC, as well as consultations with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the decision was taken to suspend Gwarzo.
“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,” the statement further highlighted.
It stated that the original decision taken by SEC on October 20, 2017 to suspend the shares of Oando Plc and conduct a forensic audit, was indeed approved and endorsed by the federal ministry of finance.
It added that the SEC team, led by 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 ISA.
“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.”
The Minister restates that the insinuation of an instruction to discontinue with the Oando case is false and this can be corroborated by the other parties at that meeting and by subsequent events.