UPDATED: How suspended SEC boss, Gwarzo, tried to blackmail me — Adeosun

Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun (Right), with Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, during a media briefing on Friday in Abuja

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, on Thursday described as “misleading” and “mischievous” allegations that she ordered the recent suspension of the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, following his refusal to carry out her directive to stop forensic audit of Oando PLC finances.

Mrs. Adeosun, who was briefing journalists in her office in Abuja over the issue, alleged that Mr. Gwarzo attempted to blackmail her to stave off the sanction by threatening to leak a memo to the media.

The minister narrated how the suspended SEC DG allegedly breached official procedures and protocol for mails delivery in her office, by delivering a memo to her through the SEC staff seconded to her office.

“The copy of the memo was delivered in a sealed envelope with a message that any action against Mr. Gwarzo would result in same (the memo) being leaked to the press.

“It was this threat of blackmail that strengthened my resolve to suspend Mr. Gwarzo and allow the Administrative Panel of Inquiry, API, to proceed with its probe,” the Minister told the briefing.

The minister, who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, said the probe of allegations of corruption against Mr. Gwarzo, and into Oando PLC finances are two separate investigations that government was awaiting their reports.

The Minister said her decision to address the media on the issue was to avoid a possible backlash and negative impact her continued silence could generate on Nigeria’s capital market in particular and the financial sector of the economy in general.

Apart from her responsibility to approve the composition and terms of reference for the API into allegations against Mr. Gwarzo, the minister said given the speculations and the potential damage on the capital market, it became necessary to set the records straight.

“The integrity of the capital market is vital to the growth of the Nigerian economy and must be managed in an orderly and transparent manner to ensure investors’ confidence. Its leadership must maintain and be seen to maintain the highest standards of integrity,” she noted.

Contrary to insinuations that Mr. Gwarzo’s sanctions had anything to do with Oando, Mrs. Adeosun explained that the original decision to suspend the shares of the company and conduct a forensic audit was approved by SEC since October 20 and endorsed by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

Prior to that decision, she said the SEC management, led by Mr. Gwarzo, had presented adequate evidence that showed that Oando Plc had a case to answer, with regard to infractions of the Investments and Securities Act 1999, ISA.

Insisting Mr. Gwarzo’s suspension had nothing to do with Oando crisis, Mr. Adeosun said following the query to him on November 3, and his response on November 7, more investigations were carried out to cross check facts he gave, particularly on banks.

Besides, she said when Mr. Gwarzo was confronted with evidence that contradicted his responses in the query, it was evident that an API needed to be conducted to clarify all issues.

However, the minister pointed out that the delay in taking a decision to sanction Mr. Gwarzo was to allow the gathering of adequate evidence, in compliance with Public Service Rule, PSR, on the suspension of a very senior member of the financial regulatory community, “to avoid a possible impact on the market.”

Although she agreed meeting with Mr. Gwarzo on Monday, November 27, the minister said the issues discussed centred on his responses to the query, whose inadequacy made it become clear he would be suspended.

“Yes, there was a meeting on Monday, November 27, with him, along with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance. But, at that meeting, he was never directed to stop investigations into Oando, never,” the minister said.

“In fact, in October when the original suspension order on Oando took place, a group meeting was held with the leadership of SEC, not just with him, and they presented very clear evidence that Oando had a case to answer. We were satisfied with that. That remains our position,” she added.

When it was evident from that interaction that he was going to be suspended from office, the Minister said Mr. Gwarzo prepared a memo, dated November 28, on the subject of Oando PLC investigation.

She said copies of the memo, which did not bear official receipt stamp of the Minister’s office, was delivered by Mr. Gwarzo in a sealed envelope using some staff of SEC seconded to the Minister’s office, in breach of official mail delivery procedures.

The copy of the memo, sighted by PREMIUM TIMES, the minister said, “was delivered with a message that any action against Mr. Gwarzo would result in same being leaked to the press.

“It was this threat of blackmail that strengthened the resolve of the Minister to suspend Mr. Gwarzo and allow the Administrative Panel of Inquiry to proceed with its probe,” the Minister said.

A copy of the memo, which Mr. Gwarzo reportedly circulated in the media, made reference to a verbal directive he claimed the Minister issued, directing him to discontinue the forensic audit on Oando PLC and allow a tripartite meeting with legal officers of SEC, Oando and Finance ministry to come up with a penalty.

“No contrary evidence has been presented to confirm what he said was true. Therefore, the investigative work on Oando and all other ongoing investigations being undertaken by SEC in the discharge of its statutory functions have continued.

“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 Minister said.

On the impact of the suspension of the SEC DG on the Capital Market, the minister said investors have no reason to worry, saying SEC, as an important institution, was not about individuals.

“Before I joined pubic service, I was a capital market operator. The Capital market runs on confidence and transparency. It’s a very important market. Investors react positively, because they know that government stands for integrity. They know there is no attempt to interfere in any ongoing investigation. Investigations must continue,” the Minister said.


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  • share Idea

    Another lie from purvayours of lies. So blackmail are now basis for suspending DG in government. Nigeria we hail thee

  • Castro

    Hahahaha, Gwarzo don hold Kemi for blokos. Where is Liar Mohammed when APC needs him.

    • Pawa2

      Gwarzo has been suspended, so whose blokos dem hold?

      • princegab

        Haywire politics, more coming with 2019.

    • Kareem Raji

      Unfortunately kemi no get blokos except you know something we dont know

  • Henry Ohakwe

    Really!!! What are you saying? That you acted on impulse abi. Na waooo

    • Pawa2

      If you know what impulse means, you will know an action that Gwarzo saw coming and was trying to avoid by all means will not be called impulsive.

  • Moneyz N Horseyz

    The question is : did you ask him to stop the forensic audit of Oando?

    • Babso

      Read what she sadid above and be updated.

  • disqus_jLJUa0YmE9

    Finance minister should also be suspended

  • KurmiRukiki

    Hahaha! What has she said now? WHAT??
    APC disgracing themselves for Naijas to see her self acclaimed ‘anti kwaropshun crusaders’.
    LMAO!!
    The maina sh*t had barely hit the fan before this.
    That’s what happens when people pretend to be what they are NOT. One week one scandal!
    Where are those e-rats?? The only way they comment on issues is by using FAKE NAMES!
    Buhahahaha!!
    hypocrites!

    • Pawa2

      I will rather have this than what happened under Jonathan, where everything was either covered or the drunkard did not even know what was happening. There is no country or organisation where you do not have people who do wrong or are trying to do wrong, It is reassuring that government is taking decisive actions to ensure things are done the right way.

      • Kareem Raji

        What makes you think worse is not happening? The forex scam alone dwarfs whatever happened under gej

  • Don Messi

    People who blackmail others must have something on the person they intend to blackmail.
    Can aunty please tell us what this gwarzo guy has as a bargaining chip?

    • MilitaryPolice01 [Joint Chief]

      Lol

    • Sanssouci

      She thinks that we are all retarded… she should have addressed Gwarzo’s allegations instead of the inconsequential rant on due process of how a memo was delivered. Madam here is a simple yes or no question for you: Did Wale Tinubu promise you twenty million dollars to kill the Oando forensic investigation and/or did Buhari also ask you to quash it?

    • NOIV FARMS

      I guess you should ask Gwarzo to provide us the information.

  • marcos avelino

    To keep Tinubu the elephant happy Gwarzo is a small fly that can be squashed but then Investors in the nigerian stock market should be aware and ready for political interference like this one.

  • Pawa2

    At least ministers are taking action against official they view as corrupt/indiscipline/not doing the right thing. Under Jonathan everyone was busy chopping to notice those doing things not in the public interest. It was a case of you chop I chop; unless Patience felt you were chopping more than her.

    • Sanssouci

      I am sure you guys are a big disappointment to your BMC paymasters, they should recruit strategists, this your kindergarten rhetoric cannot fly in a forum with sane people

      • Pawa2

        What is your point? What is your counter-rhetoric? I hope you don’t regard yourself as sane.

        • Julius

          Lmaoooooooooo….he is sane in his village.

      • Darlington

        More importantly, BMC hired online urchins are sounding like broken down record now. I don’t blame them. How do you expect a hungry & jobless youth being paid N50,000 a month to comment online to reason intelligently.

    • Ubong

      You are so happy to be blindfolded by one individual. The question is did she tried to prevent the investigation of Wale Tinubu. Or what has previous government got to do with a government we voted to do things differently based on fairness and rule of law and equity but we are witnessing daily corruption scandals among the President aides with no sane harsh treatment or action from a regional and teleguided EFCC. Until you and i purge ourselves from pettiness and seek good governance devoid of region or nepotism and favouritism, we will continue to be treated disdainfully by criminals governing us. And if President Buhari should fail us, despute his towering leadership qualities and personality and goodwill of Nigerian, then i doubt what unprincipled people like Atiku jumping from A to B and B to A, condemning each, as congregation of most wicked and non_visionary blinded and corrupt Nigerian as he moved out to join the other. You and i should shout for things to be done properly within law and not some people being treated like untouchables.

      • Pawa2

        I have not got a single drop of pettiness and nepotism in me. You go and purge yourself of yours. When you have done so you can come back and comment sensibly.

  • Ajayi Ifayemi

    Nigerians are so funny. How on earth can one choose to believe a man who already has grave allegations of impropriety against him for over 8 months against a minister who is acting on same? I know. It is political expediency. When we choose politics over substance we join in destroying our motherland. Just saying.

  • Otile

    Where on earth can one catch dele Awogbeoloshi to defend his aburo Kalmity Kemi? She has been caught hands down lying her pants off. Nibo Sango?

  • Presidential age limit = 50yrs

    Dear Youthful Nigerian Mumus,
    How una dey? Are you people not ashamed? If you are between 0 – 50 years then it is you I am talking about. This age group forms 83% of Nigerians alive. So why must you allow expires liars, extremists, certificate forgers, brainless, ex-military men and former civil servant ‘Ole’ like Buhari, Atiku, Obasanjo et all be the ones determining our destiny/future? These are people who know nothing about governance and have nothing new to bring on board. We must not allow anyone older than 50 to be president again. Do not vote for any man or woman older than 50. This is a movement we are starting and you will soon see how we will run the show. We don’t care which part of Nigeria the president comes from, even if he/she comes from Boko haram terrorist group, what is important is that the person must have at least a First degree from a Nigerian University. A foreign degree is UNACCEPTABLE. And of course the individual MUST be 1 – 50 years.

    • NwaIgbo

      Is age the only qualification for a successful leadership?

  • Factsayer

    Madam u didn’t sack him until he opened audit of Oando.
    This ur sack dey very suspicious.
    It looks like trying to silent a person who refused to do ur bid. We are not fools.
    Gwarzo may have skeleton in his cupboard but you have many skeletons in ur own.

    U want to replace Gwarzo with paddy paddy person who will present fake authored audit of Oando

  • TJ

    Look at the face of the Perm Sec, he looks unhappy because clearly the Minister is not saying the truth. But yet he can’t take the mic and state his own version of the story since he’s a witness. So Mr. Dutse, hold your own press briefing and state the truth that Madam Kemi is not saying the truth.
    The maximum they can do is sack you, and so what!!! At least you will leave with dignity rather than remain an ass licker.

    • 45Degree

      Hehehe. My broda, you wan make he “resign”? In Nigeria, “resign” means DEATH.

  • Bassey Frank

    This “defence” does not add up. Gwarzo’s account was logical, fluid and coherent. The sequence of events, anchored to his follow-up letter after the said meeting with Adeosun, is evidently true. But because of the kind of government we run, government of pretentious characters, by pretentious characters for pretentious characters, nothing will happen to you.

    • Okanlawon T. Brown

      @bassey_frank:disqus @

      Look, no defence in Nigerian government circles has ever added up. Nigeria is a territory –
      not a country – but a place ruled and ruined by thieves and retards and by people with
      low intelligence quotient. That is why Nigeria is the only oil exporting country that’s
      been going backwards amongst the OPEC countries, because the intelligence
      quotient leading the country has always till now been to low. There was the
      rustic yokel called Olusegun Obasanjo who has no reputation for good
      thinking in his 81-years on earth, who was wangled by his ex-military
      comrades who loaded him with billions of Naira from dubious sources
      to outspend his more cerebral rival (Olu Falae). From then on it has
      been downward trend for Nigeria under a Primary Six certificate man
      who prances around as president of Nigeria today. The old wit that
      knowledge is power has no resonance amongst illiterate voters
      in Nigeria who queue up to vote blindly without thinking or ever
      choosing knowledge over ignorance. Result is a smelly country.

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    The Federal finance minister, Mrs.Kemi Adeosun, must refer the Director-General of the suspended security and exchange-commission, Mounir Gwarzo, to the EFCC, for prompt-full thorough investigation, prosecution and severe penalty in order to serve as deterrent to other corrupt-elements, in the public sector and private sector.

  • Kenny

    Think about the tinubu influence vis-a-vis Oando plc in Adeosun’s appointment! Also imagine what telephone conversations must have ensued the moment Gwarzo kick-started the forensic audit of Oando. This ll give u a clue as to the remote reason why she fired Gwarzo.

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  • Ezomon Ehichioya

    Thank God, Gwarzo is a Northerner and Muslim. Otherwise, we would be hearing: North/Fulani want to finish Southerners; Muslims want to Islamise Nigeria. But this is a Christian Southerner suspending a
    Northern Muslim. No problem with that. So, the story must change: Minister asked Gwarzo to stop probe of Oando associated with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who must have prompted the alleged intervention. No person is considering the said offences Gwarzo committed that earned him queries even while the probe of Oando was going on; Writing a memo and threatening to leak it to the press; and the Minister insists the probe of Oando must continue with the new Management of SEC. Why? Because the Minister is in Pres. Buhari’s cabinet that emanated from the APC, which “sees no good, does no good” and therefore must be maligned no matter whether they are right or wrong. The posters here are ready to take the Gwarzo memo line, hook and sinker, but not so the Minister’s intervention. That one must have been influenced by Tinubu. What a country ruled by sentiments, and not common sense. Thanks and God bless.

  • man

    the problem with this is just the antecedents of many northern bureacrats. malami dey play maradona at the senate just like how diezani started. and we see the results of diezani now with corruption everywhere. the people that complain about oando were 2 northerners. i think gwarzo may have planned it with them because he may have known that there was a corruption case against him. so if they suspend him, he can just say it is because of the investigation into oando. these northerners they play these childish games all the time. we saw this with sanusi at the cbn using government money to finance his palaces , and where is the case against sanusi now? covered.