Tuesday, 20 February 2018

…two of their seven children unaccounted for – Police

Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri

After three weeks of investigation, the Monitoring Unit of the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the Imo State Police Command has nabbed a couple for allegedly selling their daughter, Chinecherem, for N400,000, a few hours after delivery.

The couple – Ifeanyi, 35, and Emmaculata Elijah, 30 – are indigenes of Amakpu- Umuba, in the Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State. But they are residents of Irete, in the Owerri West LGA of Imo State.

Other suspects said to have been involved in the crime are Grace Mezu, 55, of Umuoba Uratta, in the Owerri North LGA; Fedalia Ariri, 55, also of Umuoba Uratta; and Amarachi Obiekwe, 49, of Osina, in the Ideato North LGA.

Parading them on Monday at the command headquarters in Owerri, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, said the couple conspired on January 26, 2018, a few hours after giving birth to the girl and sold her to Obiekwe, through Mezu and Ariri.

Enwerem, who disclosed that the couple had given birth to seven children, said the whereabouts of two were still unknown.

According to him, the woman was delivered of the baby at home, while the waiting buyers paid immediately to take possession of the newborn baby.

The police spokesperson, who explained that the baby was recovered on February 17 in Lagos State, said the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chris Ezike, had ordered that the matter be charged to court at the end of investigation.

Enwerem said, “The innocent baby was denied love and parental care immediately she was given birth to. The parents conspired to take N400,000 instead of their daughter.

“The Commissioner of Police, who is pissed off with this act of wickedness and crime against humanity, has ordered that the wheels of justice and investigation be accelerated so that the matter would be charged to court.

“Having found out that the mother of the child was part of the conspiracy,  the CP has ordered that the innocent baby be taken from her and handed over to the Imo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare.

“The suspects have made confessional statements and we are working to ensure that justice is served. The Commissioner of Police advised that those who are in need of children should go through legal means to adopt them.”

There was a mild drama when the couple and the other suspects started accusing one another.

While the three other suspects and the child’s father, Ifeanyi, said the baby’s mother was part of the crime, Emmaculata denied knowledge of it.

Speaking to newsmen, the woman who allegedly bought the baby, Obiekwe, said she gave the couple the agreed amount in their house.

The father of the baby, who confessed that he traded his daughter for money, said the crime was planned and hatched by himself and his wife.

He said he and his wife gave Mezu, who brought the buyer, N6,000 from the amount that was paid for the baby.

Published in News & Stories
Tuesday, 20 February 2018 01:20

Six banks meet CBN’s dividend payout rule

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular on dividend payout by commercial banks and discount houses has been analysed based on the performances and balance sheet positions of all lenders.

A report released yesterday by Afrinvest West Africa, an investment and research firm, showed that only six banks – Access Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa, Wema Bank and Zenith Bank- met the CBN’s minimum requirement for Capital Adequacy Ration (CAR) and Non-Performing Loans. Hence these banks are excluded from the restrictions on dividend payment.

The firm explained that many lenders will not be able to pay dividends based on their capital reserves as well as the proportion of Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) in a bid to forestall any threats to customer deposits in the system.

On the criteria that require lenders to meet the minimum Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) before dividend payout, the research firm said all the banks under its coverage, save for Unity and Union, met the minimum requirement stipulated by the CBN.

“For Unity, the current CAR (as at nine month 2017) is unavailable while Union Bank had a CAR of 13.3 per cent (below CBN requirement of 15 per cent in first half of 2017). We envisage Union’s CAR will improve by fiscal year 2017, adjusting for the capital raise of N50 billion via rights issue in 2017,” it said.

On another requirement that banks and discount houses that have a Composite Risk Rating (CRR) of “High” or a Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio of above 10 per cent shall not be allowed to pay dividend, the report said only FBN Holdings has a non-performing loan ratio above 10 per cent which should disqualify the entity from paying dividend.

“However, given the Holding company structure operated by FBN Holdings, analysts believe dividend can be paid from earnings of subsidiaries, other than the bank,” it said.

Further analysis of the report showed that banks and discount houses that meet the minimum capital adequacy ratio but have a CRR of “Above Average” or an NPL ratio of more than five per cent but less than 10 per cent shall have dividend payout ratio of not more than 30 per cent.

Under this condition, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (STI) is the only Tier-1 bank restricted to a maximum payout ratio of 30 per cent on the basis of the fact that its NPL ratio stood at 9.6 per cent in nine months of 2016.

Similarly, Diamond Bank, Fidelity Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Sterling and Union Bank are also restricted to a maximum of 30 per cent maximum payout ratio with respective NPL ratio above five per cent but below 10 per cent.

On the provision that   banks and discount houses that have capital adequacy ratios of at least three per cent above the minimum requirement, CRR of “Low” and NPL ratio of more than five per cent but less than 10 per cent, shall save dividend payout ratio of not more than 75 per cent of profit after tax.

Under this condition, ETI is the only Tier-1 bank that is restricted to 75 per cent maximum dividend payout ratio. Stanbic is the only Tier-2 bank eligible to pay up to 75 per cent as dividend payout.

On the provision that there shall be no regulatory restriction on dividend payout for banks and discount houses that meet the minimum CAR, have a CRR of “low” or “moderate” and an NPL ratio of not more than five per cent, the report said it is expected that the Board of such institutions will recommend payouts based on effective risk assessment and economic realities.

On the policy that no bank or discount house shall be allowed to pay dividend out of reserves, the analysis shows that no Nigerian bank breached this provision.

On the requirement that banks shall submit their Board approved dividend payout policy to the CBN before the payment of dividend shall be permitted, analysts believe the CBN will ensure compliance with the set guidelines before approval of dividend payment by the banks.

It said that in light of these new guidelines and based on our analysis of the banks using their nine month 2017 results, most of the banks, especially the Tier-1 banks, such as Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank, save for FBNH, are not likely to be significantly impacted and are expected to sustain the historical dividend payment trend.

“ETI meets the regulatory requirement for CAR, but has NPL above recommended maximum by the CBN; hence a maximum payout ratio of 30 per cent is placed on the bank. For the banks affected by the restrictions, we opine more attention will be turned towards improving NPL and shoring up capital buffers in order to ensure dividend payment,” it said.

Diamond Bank has sold off its African operations for a consideration of $75.7 million (N27.3 billion) to improve its CAR buffers. Union Bank has concluded a N50 billion rights issue in order to improve its capital base.

”Furthermore, given the premium Nigerian investors place on dividend paying stocks, we believe banks will strive to improve on dividend payment. Nevertheless, we do not rule out the possibility of some kneejerk sell-off reactions by investors especially in stocks that are affected by the dividend payment restrictions. Hence, we advise that investors tread cautiously, especially ahead of the release of full year earnings,” the analysts said.

Published in Business and Economy

The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Anambra State, Most Revd Paulinus Ezeokafor, has asked Nigerians not to vote for politicians above 60 years of age in the 2019 elections.

Describing such politicians as a “burden on the growth and development of the country,” the bishop said they ought to have quit active politics at such an age.

Speaking on Sunday in Awka, Anambra State, the Prelate wondered why candidates who retired from service would want to pilot the affairs of the country.

“I can’t understand why retirees would want to seek political offices. Such people are a burden to growth.

“I urge Nigerians to stop electing such people. 2019 is crucial in our history. We should vote wisely; we should avoid voting for retirees.”

He urged christians to ensure active participation during the 2019 general election, just as he condemned Christians who speak ill of government but would fail to participate in election processes.

He insisted that the only way to vote out the wrong people during elections was to be fully involved, such as by obtaining the permanent voter card and casting one’s vote during elections.

The bishop condemn Christians who sell their votes for a token, adding that such people should be ready to endure the consequences.

He said Christians were entrusted with the responsibility of taking the lead in positive directions, tasking them to eschew nonchalant attitude.

Applauding the recent move by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission and Independent National Electoral Commission to check excessive spending by politicians during elections, the cleric said if implemented, it would restore sanity in the electoral process.

Published in Headliners

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria on Thursday told President Muhammadu Buhari that the enormous goodwill with which he assumed office in 2015 is being fast depleted by some “glaring failures” of his government.

The bishops said this when they paid the President a courtesy visit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Their address at the visit, copies of which were made available to journalists, was jointly signed by the CBCN President and Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama; and the Secretary who is also the Bishop of Gboko, Most Rev. William Avenya.

“There is no doubt that when you came into office, you had an enormous amount of the goodwill of Nigerians, since many saw you as a person of integrity who would be able to bring sanity into a system that was nearly crippled by endemic corruption.

“Nearly three years later, however, one has the feeling that this goodwill is being fast depleted by some glaring failures of government, which we have the moral responsibility to bring to your notice, else we would be failing in our duty as spiritual fathers and leaders,” the bishops told Buhari.

They regretted that there was too much suffering in the country, with poverty, hunger, insecurity, violence and fear, among others, pervading the land.

They said, “Our beloved country appears to be under siege. Many negative forces seem to be keeping a stranglehold on the population, especially the weaker and defenceless ones.

“There is a feeling of hopelessness across the country. Our youths are restive and many of them have taken to hard drugs, cultism and other forms of violent crime, while many have become victims of human trafficking. The nation is nervous.

“Just as we seem to be gradually emerging from the dark tunnel of an economic recession that caused untold hardship to families and individuals, violent attacks by unscrupulous persons, among whom are terrorists masquerading as herdsmen, have led to a near civil war situation in many parts of the country.

“We are saddened that, repeatedly, innocent citizens in different communities across the nation are brutally attacked and their sources of livelihood mindlessly destroyed.

“Lives are wasted and property, worth billions of Naira, including places of worship, schools, hospitals and business enterprises are torched and turned to ashes.”

The Catholic Bishops said they were still saddened by the recent massacre of unarmed citizens by suspected terrorists in some communities in Benue, Adamawa, Kaduna and Taraba states, which has caused national shock, grief and outcry.

They said the Federal Government’s silence in the wake of the attacks was shocking.

Published in Headliners

EFCC grills 61 suspects

Director returns N240m

WHO GOT WHAT

•N839, 780,738.09 was remitted to Broadwaters Resources. The cash was diverted to liquidate a loan.
•N1, 629,250,000 was paid into the account of Global offshore and Marine Limited out of which about N840m went to Crystal TV Limited. The signatories to the account of Crystal TV are related to Stella Oduah
•About N780million was transferred to Tip Top Global Resources Ltd belonging to the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim. Anyim’s staff were discovered to be signatories to the account

There is N9.4 billion meant for the installation of security devices at the 22 airports?

This is the knot the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to untie.

Its detectives have traced about N3.9billion of the N9.4billion to a company belonging to a former Minister of Aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah and five other firms.

The firms are Broadwaters Resources Company Limited; Sobora International Limited; Global offshore and Marine Limited; Tip Top Global Resources Limited and Crystal TV .

About 61 suspects have been grilled by the anti-graft agency in connection with the alleged diversion of the cash.

The EFCC has obtained a court order to impound six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and some equipment bought for Crystal TV under the Interim Forfeiture clause in its Act.

The commission has raised a team to interrogate Mrs Oduah, a senator.

According to a fact-sheet, which was obtained by our correspondent, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, which is linked with the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, was paid N780million for unknown services.

The document states: “The contract is for the sum of N9,443,549,531.25 for the procurement and installation of equipment in 22 airports. No evidence that due diligence was carried out before the contract was awarded.

“ This contract was initially awarded to a company called Cybernetics Limited. Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan approved the award to Cybernetics and  the Bureau of Public Procurement issued a certificate of no objection. But due to the reduction of  the cost from over N10b

to N9.4b., Cybernetics rejected the award.

“I-SEC, which was supposed to be technical partner to Cybernetics, was later proposed by the ex-Minister of Aviation for the contract.

”Out of the contract sum, N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was fraudulently diverted, misappropriated and laundered through some companies. Investigators have been able to trace the cash.”

A director of I-SEC is said to have refunded about N240million to EFCC out of the slush funds traced to him. The EFCC has located six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and equipment bought for Crystal TV.  An interim forfeiture order has been obtained on these equipment.

The N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was “paid to other beneficiaries who do not have direct or indirectly connection to the execution of the contract.”

“About N839, 780,738.09 was remitted to Broadwaters Resources Company Limited N839, 780,738.09 which had no relationship with I-SEC.   The cash paid into Broadwaters was later diverted into another firm called Sobora International Limited to liquidate an existing loan into First Bank. The shareholders and signatories to the account are people related to Stella Oduah. Her cousin, who is a staff in her private company called SEA Petroleum and Gas Limited was a signatory into the account.

Another N1, 629,250,000 was paid into the account of Global offshore and Marine Limited out of which about N840m went to Crystal TV Limited. The shareholders and signatories to the account of Crystal TV are related to Stella Oduah and the cash was used to liquidate existing loan by Crystal TV.

“From the same N1.6b, about N780million  was transferred to Tip Top Global Resources Ltd belonging to the family of  a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim where Anyim’s staff were discovered to be signatories to the account.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has raised a panel to interrogate Sen. Oduah, who is scheduled to appear before the team on February 19th.

“We are set for the ex-Minister’s grilling, it is left to her to keep to the appointment date which she has fixed,” a top source added.

EFCC said: “Oduah was invited on three occasions to report for interview on the 13th June, 2017, 29th June 2017 and 13th November 2017 but she failed to honour any of the invitations.

Rather than appear to face a panel that was raised by the EFCC to interrogate her, Mrs. Oduah, through a letter dated  January 5, 2018, informed the commission that she would  honour the invite on January 29, 2018.

“The letter was duly acknowledged by the commission and just as the investigators were looking forward to her arrival Oduah played a fast one on the EFCC with another letter indicating that she would no longer be available on January 29.

“She cited an invitation by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to accompany him to London where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the House of Commons on January 25.

“Oduah stated that her next convenient date to honour your invitation is 19th February, 2018.”

 
Published in Headliners

Transparency International has accused the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, of acquiring properties in the United Kingdom with proceeds of corruption worth £15 million.

The properties are located at 7 and 8, Whittaker Street, Belgravia, London.

According to Transparency International, the report was conducted by Unexplained Wealth Orders, a new investigative power designed to help law enforcement agencies act on corrupt assets.

TI said the houses at the two addresses are owned by Landfield International Developments Limited and Renocon Property Development Limited.

The report said the companies are managed by Toyin Saraki, the wife of the Senate president, and one of Saraki’s personal aides.

“The report is particularly useful where there is no realistic prospect of cooperation or conviction in the country of origin, but there are sufficient grounds for suspicion that an asset has been acquired with the proceeds of corruption,” UWO said.

Other people indicted in the report include Igor Shuvalov, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister; Ahmed Mahmoud Azwai, former Libyan Major General; Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan; and First family of Azerbaijan, a country in Asia.

It could be recalled that in 2015, Panama Paper exposed Saraki’s ownership of at least three secret offshore firms, which he allegedly used in concealing assets abroad.

Also In November 2017, Saraki was named among over 120 politicians and leaders in nearly 50 countries who have reportedly been utilising shell companies in tax haven to conceal assets, evade tax or launder funds.

 
 
Published in Headliners

• Ex-minister writes EFCC, says “I’ll be available on February 19th”
• Anti-corruption agency quizzes Sen. Nwaoboshi over N2.1b failed contracts, 30 undeclared accounts

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) appears to be running out of patience with former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, over an alleged N9.4billion curious contract involving her.

The agency believes she has been playing a ‘hide and seek’ game over repeated invitations to her for questioning in respect of the allegation.

She may be declared wanted if she continues to be evasive, The Nation gathered yesterday, although sources said she had informed the EFCC of her intention to now make herself available on February 19.

 

The anti-graft agency has already interrogated Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for alleged N2.1b failed contracts, securing questionable loan from NEXIM Bank and operating 30 accounts without declaring same to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Reliable sources said yesterday that Oduah had been invited thrice in the last seven months over the security contract only for her to fail to turn up on each occasion.

This development informed the decision of the EFCC to consider the option of declaring her wanted.

The former minister, according to a fact sheet sighted by The Nation, is wanted by the EFCC in “respect of investigation into a N9, 443,549,531.25 contract awarded to I-Sec Security Nigeria Limited for the procurement and installation of security equipment in 22 airports across the country.

“The contract was awarded when she held sway as Minister of Aviation in the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

“There were issues surrounding the contract, including alleged non-execution of the project in some airports, abandonment of the contract in a few ones, diversion of part of the contract sum and suspected case of money laundering.

 

“These are allegations she is expected to respond to in order to clear the air on the security contract. She is only expected to explain her roles.”

Attempts to interrogate Oduah over the last seven months have failed following excuses from her.

An EFCC source said:  “ She was invited on three different occasions to report for interview on the 13th June, 2017, 29th June 2017 and 13th November 2017 but she failed to honour any of the invitations.

“Rather than appear to face a panel that was raised by the EFCC to interrogate her, Oduah, through a letter dated  January 5, 2018, informed the commission that she would  honour the invite on January 29, 2018.

“The letter was duly acknowledged by the commission and just as the investigators were looking forward to her arrival, Oduah played a fast one on the EFCC with another letter indicating that she would no longer be available on January 29.

“She cited an invitation by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu to accompany him to London where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the House of Commons on January 25.

“Oduah stated that her next convenient date to honour your invitation is 19th February, 2018”.

The source said it was obvious that this suspect “is not willing to submit herself to the Commission for interview in relation to the ongoing investigation, which leaves the Commission with a few options.”

The source added: “The Commission has been very patient with her but she may be declared wanted if she continues this hide and seek game”.

It was also  gathered that after several efforts, the EFCC has succeeded in  interrogating Senator Peter Nwaoboshi  over alleged failed N2.1b contracts;  obtaining loan from NEXIM Bank while still on the board of the bank; and for operating 30 accounts without declaring same to the Code of Conduct Bureau.

A source said: “As regards your enquiry, Nwaoboshi finally presented himself for interrogation by the Commission on 27 November, 2017  and, for two days , was grilled by operatives of the Commission on sundry allegations bordering on abuse of office, criminal breach of trust and under declaration of assets.”

Nwaoboshi, who represents Delta North in the Senate, is alleged to have “used his company, Bilderberg Enterprises Limited, to secure contracts worth N2.1 billion to supply new equipment to two agencies of Delta State Government but defrauded the state in the execution of the contract by importing and supplying used equipment which he passed off as new.”

He is also accused of laundering the proceeds of alleged criminal activity to acquire properties in Delta State and Lagos.

Listed among such properties are a 12-storey building at Apapa in Lagos belonging to Delta State Government which Nwaoboshi bought for N805million and an N800million warehouse at Apapa Wharf, Lagos

The 12-storey building property was allegedly acquired through one of his companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Limited.

The warehouse is already subject of interim forfeiture by the EFCC.

Continuing, the source said: “besides, Senator Nwaoboshi allegedly diverted proceeds of a NEXIM loan to acquiring properties, objectives which contravene the conditions for which the facility was granted in the first place.

“The senator equally failed to disclose his interest in about 30 bank accounts in the assets declaration form.

“Preliminary findings indicated that he has a case to answer. So, he might face trial accordingly.”

 

Published in Business and Economy
Saturday, 03 February 2018 18:24

City Falter In Title Race, Draw At Burnley

Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s late equaliser for Burnley denied Manchester City victory for only the fourth time in the Premier League this season as Pep Guardiola’s side paid the price for missing a host of chances.

City took the lead through a long-range Danilo strike but failed to turn their dominance into further goals.

BBC reports that Raheem Sterling was guilty of their worst miss when he failed to find the target from six yards after meeting Kyle Walker’s cross at the far post.

Burnley, lifted by a home crowd buoyed by Sterling’s miss, had gone close through Ben Mee and Aaron Lennon, who were both denied by brilliant Ederson saves, but there was no stopping Gudmundsson’s effort.

He ran into the box to meet Matthew Lowton’s cross with a powerful half-volley that City’s Brazilian goalkeeper got a hand to, but could not keep out.

City still extend their lead at the top of the table to 16 points, at least until nearest rivals Manchester United play Huddersfield later on Saturday.

Burnley have now gone nine league games without a win, but the manner of their comeback to hold the runaway leaders will give boss Sean Dyche something to smile about after a disappointing start to 2018.

 
 
Published in Sports

Minister of Finance Mrs Kemi Adeosun and suspended Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) boss Mr Mounir Gwarzo yesterday disagreed on the cause and propriety of the suspension of the Director-General.

At a House of Representatives’ public hearing by the Tajudeen Yusuf – led Committee on Capital Market and Institutions on Gwarzo’s suspension, Mrs. Adeosun said the suspension was in the interest of the capital market investing public. Gwarzo disagreed; he said it was all as a result of his decision to conduct a forensic audit on Oando Plc.

Yusuf explained that the investigation was not intended to witch-hunt anyone but aimed at building and restoring the confidence of the investing public in the capital market.

Gwarzo, who appeared at the hearing with a counsel, James Igwe, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), faulted his suspension on the point of law and Public Service Rule (PSR), stressing that the minister had no power to suspend him.

He pointed out that payment of severance package of N104 million to himself as well as awarding SEC contracts to companies he has interests in as alleged by the minister were untrue.

Gwarzo said his suspension was as a result of his resolve to conduct a forensic audit of Oando despite several attempts by the minister to stop him.

He also wondered why the minister interfered in the case of Oando and Oasis Insurance, and cited five other investigations carried out by SEC in the last two years which the minister never interfered in.

Gwarzo  said: “I strongly believe that anybody or group of persons that do not want a forensic audit to be undertaken on Oando Plc does not believe in the anti-corruption war of Mr. President. The forensic audit is yet to take place almost two months after my suspension and more than four weeks after Mrs. Kemi Adeosun told the nation that the exercise will commence. There is no court order as at today restraining SEC from undertaking the exercise. Oando has filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal and the matter is yet to be heard not to talk of issuing any order and SEC only obeys court orders and not filing of papers as was the case in Gombe Bond, BGL and Partnership, and the board of the Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund has since approved the engagement of the investigators and also approved the sum of N160 million for the exercise. Therefore, SEC has no right to vary the decision of the Board and no reason not to continue with the forensic audit”.

Igwe quoted copiously from the Securities and Investment Act, PSR and the constitution that the DG was not subjected to the PSR since he was not a public servant but a head of a government parastatal appointed by the President.

Igwe said the minister lacked the powers to suspend a SEC DG and that Gwarzo could only be guided or disciplined by the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) and staff manual of the agency, adding that the provisions of laws acted upon by the minister were non-existent in the rule books.

On the allegation of payment of severance package of N104 million to himself, Gwarzo said the payment was in accordance with the rules governing such matters.

He noted that though he was a commissioner for two years before being appointed by the President, subject to the approval of the Senate, he still went through the process of a new appointment and, as such,  he was entitled to two years of severance package.

He said all heads of government agencies, such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), including commissioners, are entitled to such packages, adding that all the commissioners as well as the Head of Legal and Enforcement of the Commission agreed that the payment be made to Gwarzo except the acting Head of Legal Department at the time who disagreed.

He said the approval of the minister was not required on the matter, notwithstanding the non-existence of the Board of the Commission at the time.

On his interest in certain private companies and award of contract to one of them, Gwarzo said he resigned his membership of the companies but found out that the resignation letters were not filed.

He also said there was no law that prohibits companies belonging to members of his family from sourcing for contracts.

“The Minister lacks the power to suspend me from service. The appointment into office or removal from office of the Director-General of SEC is a power strictly resident with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is evident from the provisions of section 5 and 8 (1 and 2) of the IS Act, 2007. The minister’s role is only limited to recommendations to the President. It is elementary to Labour law that only an employer can suspend an employee, thus bringing to question the suspension by the Honourable Minister,” Gwarzo said.

According to him, as soon as the SEC issued a notice on 18 October 2017 to the public that a forensic audit will be carried out on Oando PLC and the shares be put on technical suspension, the Minister of Finance invited him to her office on 19 October 2017 at 9:30 am to inquire into the activities of the Commission on Oando Plc at that meeting.

“She sought to know the power I as the DG had to undertake such an exercise, stating that it had been suggested to her that I should be relieved of my job for taking such a decision,” Gwarzo said.

The minister said Gwarzo was economical with the truth by claiming that his suspension was a result of the investigation of Oando.

Saying that Gwarzo’s only wanted to play up emotion on the issue, Mrs. Adeosun said she could not have endorsed the investigation of Oando by SEC if she had other motives, despite being informed after Oando has been suspended by Gwarzo

While the  Minister questioned the sincerity of Gwarzo on allegation of  interference in the affairs of SEC against her by the suspended DG, Mrs. Adeosun said what explanation would Gwarzo give to the investigation of a company owned and managed by her personal friends, found wanting and banned for life by Gwarzo.

 
Published in Business and Economy
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