A non governmental organisation, Information for Democracy and Development, IDD, has described as unwarranted, the current barrage of media attacks on the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRC and its current Executive Secretary/CEO, Jim Obazee.
IDD, in a statement by its executive secretary, Mallam Yakubu Sabo Dagan, said that as keen observers of such organizations as the FRC, “we strongly believe that these attacks are being instigated by some powerful political interest groups.
The statement said that it understands that the grouse of these people who are high political office holders is the new National Code of Corporate Governance recently released by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria which stipulates rules and regulations for the management and for accounting for spending in both public sector and large corporate organizations especially quoted companies.
IDD, said that it considers this campaign of calumny which has been mounted against the FRC and its boss since the release of the new code as simply deplorable and shameful because we believe that the new National Code of Corporate Governance is in the interest of all Nigerians.
“IDD notes with optimism that if these new guidelines are implemented by the Buhari administration, it will make it difficult for corrupt public officials to continue to steal and loot public funds at will. The new code would help to reduce, if not remove, corruption in the private sector, especially for companies quoted on the stock exchange and are operated with investors’ funds.
“For these reasons, we condemn in its entirety, the recent attacks against the FRC and its chief executive, Obazee through false allegations planted in some online media. We have also scrutinized the allegations of corruption against Mr. Obazee and found them to be frivolous, ridiculous and apparently made in bad faith with the aim of putting them to public ridicule.
“Our enquiry about the so-called N1 billion IFRS Academy fund shows that the money in question which is far less than N1billion has been deposited in the Federal Government’s Single Treasury Account, TSA until when it is needed for the academy project. So there is no truth whatsoever in the allegations against Obazee over the fund. As stated earlier, most of these allegations are so frivolous and vexatious and do not require any detailed response.
“It is obvious that these people want to destroy FRC and its chief executive so that they can continue to have a field day to continue their mindless and criminal looting of our common wealth.
“We are worried and perturbed by the apparent attempt to politicize the work of the FRC by these corrupt but powerful government officials. The Financial Reporting Council is a professional body which seeks to uphold the tenets and standards of public and commercial accounting for both public and corporate wealth and resources, such that the interest of the whole society is protected. And we must say that since Obazee became the head of the FRC in 2013, he has worked hard to further raise the standards of the council.
“His personal integrity, transparency and professionalism are not in doubt. We believe and therefore state categorically here that the campaign of calumny against the FRC and Obazee should not be allowed to continue under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, whose mantra is anti-corruption.
“We understand that some so-called interested stakeholders recently went to court to challenge the FRC’s authority to issue the new National Code of Corporate Governance. These persons and groups include a discredited Independent Shareholders Association. It is instructive that the courts have ruled clearly against them and in favour of the FRC.
“It indeed appears strange and questionable to IDD that a so-called shareholders group would be the one fighting against a code that tries to hold the management and directors of publicly owned companies accountable to higher standards of corporate governance that would enhance shareholders’ interest in these corporate entities.
“It is unimaginable that Nwosu and his group would want a situation whereby one single person is chairman, managing director and chairman of the audit committee of a publicly owned company whose equity shares are traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange!
“There is also the media report that the Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah has queried FRC and Mr. Obazee over the new Code of Corporate Governance which ,according to media reports, the Minister believes would adversely affect the ease of doing business in the country.
“We strongly believe that the position of the Minister is faulty. Such fears should not arise at all, given that the code will further reassure both foreign and domestic investors that their investments are safer here because of our high corporate governance standards as issued by FRC on October 17, 2016.
“It is noteworthy that barely days after the FRC released the new code it has been hailed by many stakeholders and interest groups who want to see a better corporate governance standards in this country.
“For instance, Dr Kingsley Owoh ,Executive Chairman of the Analytical Economics Society of Nigeria was on air during a Silverbird TV breakfast programme to commend the code. He said that the new National Code of Corporate Governance will raise the bar in current corporate governance in the country in both the public and private sectors of the economy if strictly adhered to. The Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, ICAN has also welcomed the new code.
“Therefore, we are taken aback that, some misguided Nigerians, who ought to know better are the ones trying to scuttle the new National Code of Corporate Governance for their own selfish interests,” the statement said.