Abuja – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said its collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was a game changer to enhance the operations of the capital market.

Mr Mounir Gwarzo, the Director-General, SEC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

“This is a major game changer; in the past, SEC has had collaboration with EFCC in terms of sending some of our staff to work with them.

“But what has happened at that time largely is that EFCC has leveraged on our experience and the competence of our people to also assist them in their work.

“So we also felt there is a need to push that collaboration to a higher level.

“So some of the salient issues in the MoU is, one, we should be able to have an exchange of staff; EFCC should be able to send some of their staff that they have trained them into Investigation.

”So we will share ideas to help in investigation and we should be able to send some of our staff to EFCC so that we will be able to share with them some of the intricacies of the capital market.

”Investigation in the financial industry is quite unique.

”We also agreed that we should be able to create dedicated desks both at EFCC and SEC such that we know that the desk is dedicated to the capital market issues,’’ he said.

Gwarzo said that most importantly, the SEC going by its law, SEC did not have the power to prosecute criminal matters.

He said the law limited SEC to only civil cases whereas about 99 per cent of cases in the capital market had some criminal elements.

He said, “the best we normally do is after our investigation, we ban or suspend the operator as an individual, we also either suspend or revoke the licence of the operator as a company.

“We then pass the matter to the EFCC, because the issue is related to the criminal aspect, we do not have jurisdiction to do that.

“So with this collaboration, we will be able to work closely with EFCC to ensure that the criminal elements which concerns the investor is also pursued and prosecuted to its logical conclusion.

“With this MoU we have had, I’m sure our investigation and particularly our enforcement mechanism, would be enhanced.

He explained that SEC had been handling civil cases and ”we had achieved a lot of progress but with the EFCC coming in, they would be able to also handle criminal matters.

He reiterated that the EFCC boss had pledged commitment to ensure that the hallmark of the collaboration was achieved.

He further said,“ for me, it is a major game changer in our enforcement drive and this will also send a very strong signal to any capital market operator that will commit an offence.

Gwarzo said the collaboration would deter further offenders in the capital market.

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