The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, on Monday reassured the investing public of continued stability of the Nigerian capital market following last week’s suspension of its Director General, Mounir Gwarzo.
The Commission gave the assurance while announcing the appointment of Abdul Zubair as acting Director General.
Investigations revealed Mr. Gwarzo may have come under official hammer over his alleged refusal to call off the forensic audit the Commission ordered into the messy financial records of the embattled indigenous oil company, Oando PLC.
Mr. Gwarzo was directed by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, to proceed on compulsory suspension to allow an unimpeded investigation into several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.
Specifically, he was accused of pocketing about N104.85 million as severance package while still in service, apart from his involvement in the award of contracts to companies, including Medusa Investment Limited, in which he was alleged to be a director.
He was suspended along with two other top management staff of the Commission, Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division, and Anastasia Braimoh, Head of Legal Department, for their alleged involvement in various financial improprieties contrary to Public Service Rules, PSRs, 03405 and 03406.
Following Mr. Gwarzo’s suspension, the Federal Government on Monday named Mr. Zubair as his successor with immediate effect, albeit in an acting capacity.
Until his appointment, Mr. Zubair was the Director in charge of External Relations in the Commission.
In the statement announcing his appointment, SEC management said despite fears of a possible disruption in the operation of the capital market, investors should rest assured of continue stability.
“SEC Nigeria wishes to assure the investing public and all stakeholders, local and international, of its commitment to ensuring an uninterrupted and orderly operation of the market and the regulation thereof. The Commission is poised to continue sustaining the all-time high level of investor confidence,” the statement said.
“We will not allow recent developments to disrupt the regulatory effectiveness and efficiency of the Commission as the statutory regulator of the capital market and by extension, the smooth running of the market,” it added.
The Commission said while it awaits the outcome of the assignment of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the Minister of Finance to investigate allegation of financial impropriety against the suspended DG and other officials, it would not allow the operational independence of the Commission to be compromised.
The SEC management said the resolve to uphold the integrity of its regulatory mandate was strictly in line with the objectives and principles of securities regulations as set out by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), to which Nigeria is a signatory.
Also, the Commission said it would, without let or hindrance, continue to remain faithful to its developmental mandates as enunciated in the Investments and Securities Act, ISA.
While assuring of market efficiency, accountability and transparency, SEC said it would proceed with all regulatory matters currently before it with all sense of objectivity and fairness, with the best interest of investors at the core of all considerations.
Apart from promptly making public its decisions on matters before it, the Commission said it would maintain capital market role in economic stability and growth, and would not abandon its regulatory and developmental responsibilities.
The acting SEC DG is an alumnus of the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, where he received the Bachelor of Science, B.Sc. degree in Economics; Master of Business Administration, MBA, Master of Science, M.Sc. and PhD in Business Administration.
Mr. Zubair holds post graduate diplomas, PGDs (Mathematics & Computer Science) and Education from other universities.
He has over 25 years’ cognate experience in the financial industry and the academia, with his career traversing banking, private and public service and the academia.
Prior to joining SEC Nigeria, Mr. Zubair served on the board of Intercity Bank Plc, Nigeria and Minna Pharmaceutical and Surgical Company Limited.
He was also Group Managing Director, Niger State Trust Fund and NST Finance Limited as well as a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administrators and Marketing Academy of Nigeria.
He is also a member of the Institute of Management Consultants, a certified Commodity Broker and Certified member of Pension Institute of Nigeria.
Mr. Zubair attended several local and international courses at middle, executive and top management levels. He is married with children and has been contributing to academic journals worldwide.