Shareholders Renew Calls for Constitution of SEC Board

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Goddy Egene
Three months after the suspension of Mournir Gwarzo as the Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), some shareholders have renewed calls on the federal government to constitute a board for the commission and resolve all issues surrounding Gwarzo’s suspension for the market to gain more confidence.

It is exactly three months today since Gwarzo was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun on allegations of financial impropriety. At a public hearing organised by the House Committee on Capital Markets on the 30th of January 2018 and chaired by Honourable Tajudeen Yusuf, Gwarzo had argued that the minister suspended him as a result of his refusal to stop the forensic audit of Oando Plc.

Before the public hearing, the minister, at a press briefing on 8th December 2017, had denied Gwarzo’s claims and informed the public that the forensic audit would commence in earnest. Similarly, the acting Director General of SEC, Dr. Abdul Kemi Zubair, at a press conference on the 4th January 2018, also assured the public that the exercise would commence in a few days.
The minister had also at the public hearing on January 30, stated that the forensic exercise had commenced. However, checks showed that the exercise, it is yet to start.

Disturbed by these developments and lack of board, some shareholders are demanding the reconstitution of board for SEC, which is the apex regulator for the nation’s capital market.
“It is also very important for the federal government to urgently constitute the board of SEC. A very important institution being the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market with responsibilities of ensuring all capital market operators and regulated entities abide by the code of corporate governance makes it imperative for SEC to show good example and if the SEC had had its board in place, the crisis between the Minister of Finance and Gwarzo would certainly have been avoided,” leading shareholder activist told THISDAY.

Also, the Chairman of Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association of Nigeria (IZSAN), Mr. Eric Akinduro said the international community is watching and the more the delay the more it will affect confidence in the market.

“The apex regulatory authority should be able to show example to others. If such a thing is happening in SEC now, the best way to handle the situation is for the government to put its board in place so that there can be confidence. The market is very sensitive. Anything that is not positive can easily drag the market down. Therefore, the best thing for the government is to take proactive step by ensuring that the board is constituted so that the growth the market is recording now can be sustained,” Akinduro said.

Also, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Mr. Adeniyi Adebisi said people bearing the brunt of what is happening in SEC are the shareholders.
“The government should constitute board so that things can move in the right direction,” Adebisi said.

It is also believed that since capital markets worldwide strive on confidence and this confidence is based solely on the integrity of the regulator, the failure of the regulator to carry out the forensic audit of Oando Plc will bring to question its integrity which would result in a negative impact on the market.