The Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo has been suspended by Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun over alleged corruption allegations.
In a statement issued by the finance minister published by Punch Newspaper, the minister said:
“The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, from office to allow for an unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety levelled against the director-general”.
Part of the statement of the minister said: “The suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules 03405 and 03406.
“The minister has set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry to investigate and determine the culpability of the director-general.
“She has directed the suspended SEC director-general to immediately hand over to the most senior officer at the commission pending the conclusion of investigation by the API.”
The suspension also affected other principal officers of the commission which includes:
Head of the Media Division, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif; and the Head of Legal Department, Mrs. Anastasia Braimoh. These officers were also alleged to be involved in financial improprieties which have not been explicitly revealed.
However, Punch claimed that a source revealed that Mounir Gwarzo allegedly collected severance package in the sum of N104,851,154.94 while still in service.
He is also alleged to be a director in Medusa Investment Limited in violation of Public Service Rule 030424.
Gwarzo was also alleged to have awarded contracts to the same company and others to which he was related, thus resulting in a conflict of interest.
The timing of his suspension is interesting given that the SEC is currently carrying out a forensic investigation into the books of Oando Plc.
Mounir Gwarzo took over as the DG of SEC from Arunma Oteh in 2015.
He currently Chairs the Africa Middle East Regional Committee (AMERC) of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). He had previously served on the SEC Board as Executive Commissioner in charge of Operations from January 2013 before being appointed as Director General by the President of Nigeria. Prior to joining the SEC Mr. Gwarzo led the Capital Market initiatives of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) where he facilitated the issuance of Nigeria’s first ever mortgage-backed bond.
Mr. Gwarzo started his career at the Kano State Ministry of Trade and Commerce in 1988 and proceeded to garner a uniquely rich blend of experience as an operator and a regulator. He has worked in well-established institutions in Nigeria’s financial services industry including the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Century Merchant Bank, Empire Securities Limited and MTL Global Investment Limited. In 1999, he joined the SEC working directly with the then-Director General before heading the Commission’s Investment Division.
Mr. Gwarzo has attended Advanced Management programs at INSEAD and SAID Business School. He has been a fellow of the Nigerian Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) since 2000. He obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Finance from the University of Birmingham, UK in 1991 and a Bachelors of Science Degree in Economics from Bayero University Kano in 1987.
In the course of his career, Mr. Gwarzo has delivered more than 25 papers at different seminars and workshops. He has served on about 20 high level Committees either as Chairman or Member receiving commendations for exemplary service and uncommon leadership. He devotes his time to pushing for greater visibility for African and Middle Eastern capital markets as well as pushing for greater financial inclusion for all Nigerians.