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ICPC to Grill Suspended SEC DG on Monday

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  • ICPC to Grill Suspended SEC DG on Monday

The suspended Director-General of the Securities Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, will on Monday appear before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission as part of investigations into corruption allegations against him.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had on Wednesday suspended Gwarzo and two other officials of the commission for alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

Adeosun, who also set up an administrative panel of inquiry to probe the allegations, directed Gwarzo to hand over the affairs of the commission to the most senior director while he proceeded on suspension.

Following the suspension of Gwarzo, the ICPC, in a letter dated November 30, 2017, with reference number ICPC/INV/GBP/SG.2/852, invited the embattled DG to appear before it on Monday.

The letter, signed by the Head of Department, Investigations, ICPC, Adedayo Kayode, was addressed to the acting DG of SEC asking him to inform Gwarzo to appear on Monday.

The ICPC letter read in part, “The commission (ICPC) is investigating a case that borders on alleged violation of the provision of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“In view of the above and pursuant to Section 28 of the said Act, you are requested to inform Mr. Mounir Gwarzo to appear before the undersigned for the purpose of interview on Monday, 4th of December, 2017 at the commission’s headquarters, Abuja by 2pm prompt.”

Our correspondents also learnt that the DG on Thursday wrote members of staff of the commission to inform them of his suspension by the Finance minister.

The memo, a copy of which was made available to one of our correspondents, read, “Dear staff, this is to inform you that I have received a letter of suspension from the Minister of Finance.

“According to the letter dated, 29th of November, 2017, the suspension is to allow for a thorough investigation of the allegations levied against me.

“In the meantime, the management of the commission shall be under the leadership of Dr. Abdul Zubair in his capacity as the most senior officer of the Commission.

“The transfer of the mantle of leadership to Dr. Zubair is in compliance with the directive of the Minister of Finance.

“I urge every staff to give Dr. Zubair all the necessary support to ensure that the commission’s efficiency level is not in any way undermined.”

The suspended DG was accused of collecting N104,851,154.94 severance package while still in service.

He was also accused of being a director of Medusa Investment Limited in violation of Public Service Rules 030424 as well as awarding contracts to the same company and others to which he was related, thus resulting in a conflict of interest.

Some associates of the suspended DG, however, made available to one of our correspondents a memo written by Gwarzo to the Finance minister on November 28, 2017, in which he inferred that Adeosun had attempted to interfere with the forensic audit of Oando Plc.

According to him, the verbal directive by the minister that SEC should discontinue with the audit and hold a tripartite meeting with legal officers of the commission, Oando and the Federal Ministry of Finance with the purpose of coming up with penalties, which will be issued to top officials of the oil marketing firm in their personal capacities for payment, will put to question the independence and integrity of the commission.

Gwarzo stated in the memo, “It is important to stress that an action such as that proposed above will definitely put to question the independence and integrity of the commission, while also completely eroding the confidence of both local and international investors in the Nigerian capital market.

“Furthermore, as you may be aware, the activities around the investigation of Oando Plc are being closely monitored by the local and global investment community and they eagerly expect the outcome of the exercise. It is therefore not in the best interest of our recovering economy that the forensic audit is not seen to be conducted in an independent and transparent manner as proposed by the commission.”

However, the Special Adviser on Media to the minister, Oluyinka Akintunde, dismissed Gwarzo’s claims in the memo as being an afterthought and diversionary, adding that the suspended DG had conveniently avoided the issues that led to his suspension and that Adeosun had nothing to do with the Oando case.

He said Gwarzo should address the issues of receiving severance package while still in service and conflict of interest raised against him and allow the administrative panel of inquiry set up to investigate the allegations to conclude its work, adding that the same rules and process were followed in the case of a former Director-General of the National Pension Commission, who was first suspended, investigated and subsequently fired.

It was learnt on Thursday that the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market had also commenced a separate probe into the matter.

The committee, led by Mr. Tajudeen Yusuf, is expected to sit next week.

Members of the House recommended tougher punishment for capital market operators who diverted funds from the system.

The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, suggested a jail term of up to 15 years for such fraudsters.

SEC also recommended the payment of 500 per cent of the amount involved by anybody convicted of defrauding the market.

The recommendations were made at a public hearing organised by the House Committee on Capital Market Institutions on a bill to amend the Investment and Securities Act, 2017.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Finance

Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

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Emefiele Pledges Accommodative Monetary Policy to Boost Economic Growth

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has pledged to adopt accommodative monetary policy stance in 2021 in order to support economic growth in the country.

Emefiele, said this on Friday, while speaking at a CBN/Bankers’ Committee’s initiative for economic growth, which is a one-day special summit on the economy by bank chief executive officers.

The theme of the summit is: “How to Overcome the Pitfalls of Recession.”

Nigeria’s economy recently came out of recession, according to the Gross Domestic Product report for fourth quarter 2020 released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Owing to the slump GDP growth of 0.11 per cent that lifted the economy out of recession, Emefiele said it was imperative that, “we do all we can in 2021 and beyond to ensure that we build on the positive momentum and strengthen our efforts at stimulating growth.”

He expressed optimism that with the discovery and deployment of vaccines worldwide, 2021 would be a year of massive global recovery and Nigeria must not be left out.

“The banks CEOs are here, whether by moral suasion or by force, they will have to participate in this journey. In order to drive and sustain this recovery therefore, we need to sustain the accommodative fiscal and monetary policy measures aimed at improving access to finance for households and businesses.

“Secondly, we must prevent a resurgence in Covid-19 related cases. Thirdly, we must ensure that a significant number of our population is significantly vaccinated and also improve foreign exchange inflows into our country,” he added.

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CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

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CIT Microfinance Bank Disburses Over N16bn Loans

CIT Microfinance Bank Limited says it has disbursed about N16bn loans since it commenced operations as part of its contributions to the financial sector and empowerment of businesses.

The Managing Director of the microfinance bank, Mr Kingsley Eremionkhale, disclosed this during the company’s 10th anniversary in Lagos recently.

He reiterated that the bank was committed to supporting the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises in the country.

“Since inception, we have disbursed loans worth about N16bn. Our operation is not just about profit-making, but we have impacted many lives, empowered many businesses, and done a lot in terms of our core mandate as a microfinance bank.”

While appreciating its customers who had been loyal to it for years, he said it was concerned about their business success.

The managing director said, “We are part of our customers’ businesses. We provide services beyond lending and savings products and we also give financial advisory services.”

He appreciated the customers who had stayed with the financial institution for many years.

The managing director noted that the MfB is a state-licensed bank operating in Lagos, and a subsidiary of Capitalfield Investment Group.

He also attributed the success of the MfB to the board of directors which it said had been supportive, the management team and its workforce in the past 10 years.

While saying that the bank could lay claims to exponential growth, he said the public should expect more from it.

He also said that it was driving its operations through its digital offerings and our e-channels, to improve its services to our customers.

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Finance

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

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FMDQ

FMDQ Approves Valency Agro’s N5.12bn Commercial Paper

FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited has announced the approval of the quotation of the Valency Agro Nigeria Limited N5.12bn Series 1 Commercial Paper under its N20bn CP Programme on its platform.

The Exchange said in fostering the development of the Nigerian debt capital markets, it had continued to avail its credible and efficient platform as well as tailor its listings and quotations services to suit the needs of issuers and registration members through innovative and uninterrupted service delivery.

It said in a statement on Thursday that the Valency Agro Nigeria CP debut issue came at a time when the Nigerian economy was bedeviled with soaring food prices, amidst compounding challenges of insecurity.

It said the agricultural sector and its attendant transformation agenda had never been more important in driving increased and sustainable production of agricultural products as well as the derived foreign earnings through exports.

The Exchange said the proceeds from the issue of the CP would be applied by Valency Agro towards meeting the mid-term working capital requirements of the various agricultural produce under its portfolio such as cashew, sesame, cocoa and in value addition prior to export.

The Executive Director, Valency Agro Nigeria Limited, Mr Sumit Jain, was quoted as saying, “We are thankful to our investors towards showing their faith in our agenda to grow the agriculture-focused business with a clear aim to maximise value addition and create employment opportunities in Nigeria.

“We would also like to commend the efforts made by FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited’s team to build the reach and FMDQ for their unconditional support for the industry”.

The Head, Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Mr Oluseun Olatidoye, said, “FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited is delighted with the successful debut of the N5.12bn Series 1 CP issued by Valency Agro Nigeria Limited. This reiterates our effort to enable underserved sectors access the debt markets, optimise their capital structure and further deepen the domestic capital markets.

“We are proud of the instrumental role FBNQuest Merchant Bank played in this transaction and appreciate the trust the management of Valency Agro placed in us to assist them. Our clients remain our priority, and we strongly believe their success is our success.”

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