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Some reports and facts have emerged on how the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mounir Gwarzo, paid N1.7bn as severance package to 44 members of staff of the commission without approval from the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun. The payment of the amount is one of the contraventions of financial regulations by the embattled SEC DG, which led to the recommendation of his dismissal.

According to the report of the Administrative Panel of Inquiry, the payment of the N1.7bn to the 44 members of staff of the commission as severance package was never provided for in the commission’s budget for 2015. He was said to have in 2015 introduced a voluntary exit scheme for members of staff willing to quit the service of SEC. The scheme christened, Golden Handshake, was designed to ease out members of staff voluntarily with attractive packages as benefits.

A top government official privy to the content of the report of the administrative panel told Punch, “In 2015, he single handedly without a budgetary provision paid N1.7bn to a set of staff under a golden handshake. By law, the DG of SEC is required to seek the approval of the Minister of Finance, even if there is a board in place. “They should have sought the approval of the minister, who, in turn will present it to the President and the request is sent to the National Assembly. But the suspended SEC DG went outside budgetary provision to effect the payment”

Contrary to the claim by Gwarzo that he had resigned from the board of Outbound Investment and Medusa Investment Limited, a copy of the resolution reached by the board of Medusa dated August 15, 2016, showed that he was still a director of the company. Gwarzo’s personal interest in the companies, according to the report, is a clear contravention of the regulation, which explicitly prohibits public officers from being in situations that bring their personal interests into conflict with their public duties.

Gwarzo had tendered a letter of resignation as a director of Medusa Investments Limited on December 19, 2012, to the API while appearing before members of the committee in January 2018. The panel in its report, however, said the actions taken by the former SEC boss in 2015 and 2016 negated his letter of resignation as a director in Medusa. For instance, it was stated that based on bank documents , Gwarzo had written a Wuse branch of a bank in Abuja on July 24 , 2015, requesting for a change of account officer.

According to Punch, his letter to the bank, was signed in his name as a director of Medusa Investments Limited. The API had in its report recommended the sacking of the embattled DG from the public service. A final decision on the report is being awaited from the Federal Government. When contacted by Punch, Gwarzo said in a text message that the claim that he paid the sum of N1.7bn severance package to staff members without approval was untrue.

He stated, “It’s not true; please discuss with the Board Secretary of the commission and they will show you the board approval. We have also provided explanations to both the ICPC and EFCC and got clearance on the issue signed by the former Chairman of ICPC. “And let’s also state that at that time we had a board thus, we did not require the approval of the minster and the board approved it.”

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GTBank Marks 10 Years of Autism Advocacy, Holds Annual Autism Conference July 27th- 28th

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For the past 10 years, Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been at the forefront of the advocacy for people living with autism.

The Bank’s Orange Ribbon Initiative has also become a major rallying point for driving awareness about Autism, campaigning against the social stigma associated with developmental disorders, and helping people with autism live a full and productive life.

This year, as part of its Orange Ribbon Initiative, GTBank will hold its 10th Annual Autism Conference via live stream on Monday, July 27 and Tuesday, July 28, 2020, so that anyone, anywhere can interact and learn from globally renowned medical experts, caregivers and health practitioners about supporting children and adults living with Autism.

Themed, “Autism: Focusing on similarities rather than differences,” the two-day conference will feature keynote presentations, panel discussions and Q&A sessions facilitated by specialists on Autism, such as Dr. Andy Shih, a Senior Vice President at Autism Speaks, Dr. Pamela Dixon, the Director of Clinical Services and Inclusion at Autism Speaks and Dr. Brooke Ingersoll, Associate Professor and Director of the Autism Lab at Michigan State University, USA, amongst others. To participate in the conference, visit www.gtbank.com/autism2020.

Commenting on the 10th Annual Autism Conference, Mr Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, said; “This is one of the most important Autism Conferences we have held over the years, not only because it marks the 10th anniversary of our advocacy for people living with autism, but also because it is happening at such a critical time. The Covid-19 pandemic has made life more difficult for people all over the world, and at this year’s Conference, we are bringing together specialists, caregivers, parents and concerned members of the public to share expertise and experience about how we can continue to be there for children and adults living with autism, during this pandemic and beyond.”

Guaranty Trust Bank plc is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation. The Bank is also going beyond the traditional understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility as corporate philanthropy by intervening in key economic sectors through non-profit consumer-focused fairs and capacity building initiatives for small businesses.

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James Hope College Honored At The Fourth Edition Of British Council Recognition And Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards

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This year, to recognize scholarly excellence, James Hope College received multiple prizes including,

  • Best in the World Category for English as a Second Language – Two awards
  • Best Across Eight Subjects in Nigeria – One award
  • Best in Nigeria Category – Eight awards
  • High Achievement Category – Two awards

These awards acknowledge exceptional Nigerian-based learners’ achievements in Cambridge examinations taken by students around the world. The primary purpose of these awards is to celebrate and recognize the success of high-performing Cambridge learners and the partner schools that have exemplified Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) and Child Protection policies.

Elated at this laudable feat, the Founder/Chairman of James Hope College, Mr. Jim Ovia congratulated the awardees and commended the management of the College. According to Mr. Ovia, the College would continually offer “world-class education that would enable our students to compete favourably on a global scale.”

James Hope College is an educational initiative of the Jim Ovia Foundation. Since its inception, the College has consistently maintained an outstanding academic pace within and beyond Nigeria. Some of its accolades include (but not limited to):

  1. 100% A* – C in all 13 subjects registered for the 2019 November IGCSE Examinations
  2. The 2019 Cambridge Summer School Scholarship awarded to a James Hope College student
  3. British Council Awards for Best In Nigeria in Biology, Chemistry and Geography for the 2018 November IGCSE Examinations
  4. British Council Award for High Achievement in Nigeria in Design and Technology for the 2018 November IGCSE Examinations
  5. 100% perfect score in the 2018 Cambridge Checkpoint Examination
  6. Best 2016/2017 BECE result in Delta State
  7. Overall Best Student for the 2016/2017 BECE in Delta State

The Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards recognizes the exceptional performance of learners around the world in Cambridge examinations. The awards reflect the talent and hard work of learners and acknowledge the dedication and commitment of both teachers and parents.

Indeed, James Hope College is making its mark in the academic landscape within and outside Nigeria.

See photo excerpt below:

 

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Adeboye, AJ Boxer, Ajanaku, Tonto Dikeh Others Hailed As ‘COVID-19 Celebrity Champions’ In July Issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine

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The midsummer issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine identifies certain distinguished Nigerians across multiple sectors, who have lent various support in the fight against the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
These individuals are Pastor E. A. Adeboye, David Adeleke (Davido), Asiwaju Rotimi Ajanaku, Tonto Dikeh, Archbishop Designate Isaac Idahosa, Anthony Joshua.
Others are Atunyota Alleluya Akpobome (Ali Baba), Bankole Wellington, Otunba Femi Davies, Prophet Emmanuel Omale, and Williams Uchemba.
These individuals are hailed as Covid-19 Celebrity Champions on the merit of their various contributions from donating health facilities to the government as isolation centers, making monetary donations to support the fight, championing awareness campaigns, sponsoring researches to find a cure for the virus and supporting thousands of indigent Nigerians who have suffered economic hardship as a result of the lockdown.
Get a copy of the July Issue of Apple’s Bite International Magazine to scoop all the details and visit www.applesbite.com for commentaries and news.
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