THE Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Finance, recently commenced investigative actions over alleged misconducts by the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mr. Mounir H. Gwarzo. The National Assembly has also stepped into the crisis, apparently with a view to unravelling the web of intrigues surrounding the suspension order.
We draw attention to the central role of SEC in the overall perception of Nigeria’s investment environment, especially in the eyes of foreign investors. These are not the best of times for Nigeria to muddy up the investment perception, particularly in view of the controversy surrounding the worrisome termination of the operations of Intels Logistics in the Oil and Gas Free Zone.
Now that Nigeria is crawling out of recession and with the steady progress in the external sector represented by the growth in the foreign reserves, the SEC should be protected and insulated from politics of all forms to avoid undoing the gradual economic recovery being witnessed.
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had alluded to attempts to blackmail her over her directive suspending the SEC boss, while the suspended SEC boss also complained of a witch-hunt as basis of his ordeal.
The probes should be conducted in a manner as to rest the issues of blackmail and witch-hunt and tackle the real issues of national interest involved.
There is also the issue of intrigues over the forensic audit of an oil major, Oando Plc, as a key part of the bone of contention, which incidentally, has foreign investment crises at its core. Again, the muddling up gets messier when quoted companies with huge private investments are exposed to undue risk.
We advise that all investigations should be based on the need to maintain integrity in the capital market and sustain investor confidence in the sector. We agree with all the parties that the integrity of the capital market is vital to the growth of the Nigerian economy and, therefore, the investigations must be managed in an orderly and transparent manner to ensure investors’ confidence.
Moreover, in so far as the suspension of the SEC boss was in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs), efforts now should be focused on an unhindered investigation of all allegations subject to documented evidences.
We do not subscribe to media trials and campaigns of hate against individuals involved in this mess or dwelling on diversionary ethnic or regional sentiments, since it is the reputation of the various critical national establishments that matter the most.
Let the Administrative Panel of Inquiry expeditiously proceed with its probe, ensuring that justice is done and the operations of the market are protected from politically-related risks.