Issues in FRC?s Obazee?s Sack

Issues in FRC’s Obazee’s Sack

Jarus

I didn’t want to comment on the raging controversy over Financial Reporting Council’s (FRC)  code that saw the exit of Pastor E.O Adeboye as Head of RCCG in Nigeria principally because such discussions are driven by emotions, rather than facts and logic, here.

However, with the new twist that saw the firing of the Head of the government agency, I can’t help not contributing.

My view is, FRC boss, Jim Obazee might have overreached himself. Yet, I believe registered charitable organizations deserve some scrutiny as is done in other parts of the world. This much was mentioned by co-panelist at the tax discussion we had on LTV recently, Eben Joels.

Not sure FRC is the best agency to do that, but I know there should be a comprehensive code for all registered charities in Nigeria. Popular analyst, Tope Fasua, suggested National Charity Commission in a 2015 article.

The FRC boss is actually not new to controversy. He - or his agency, the FRC - was the one that carried out the audit of CBN under Sanusi in 2013/2014, with report of infractions, which formed the stated basis for the sack of Sanusi by GEJ in February 2014.

Interestingly, most Accountants (in Financial Reporting functions) in companies received FRC’s Obazee’s sack with cheers.

Many company CFOs and Financial Controllers see him as a bull in China shop, a pain in the neck - crazy regulations.

Recall the popular case of Board Chairman Atedo Peterside and StanbicIBTC accounts few months back. It was same Obazee, the man that ruffled the feather then. I think Atedo’s eligibility to sign company accounts was suspended as Stanbic  after that issue.

I mentioned the Sanusi/CBN audit of 2014 too. That was Obazee at work too.

Now, the issue at hand: Why was Jim sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari?

The glaring ground is his (Jim’s) defiance of the directive by his supervising minister, Enalamah of Trade and Investment, in going ahead to implement the decision to have religious bodies leaders step down after 20 years.

Jim is a tough guy. I have had interactions with people that worked closely to him.

Should he have been sacked? I don’t think so. His reason for going ahead despite the minister’s disapproval was that this is a gazetted code, and anything that will stop also has to be gazetted.

Fine argument. But the issue is, as a senior public official, Jim should know better. Things don’t work in a strait-jacketed manner. He should have been a little more circumspect, if only to show some respect to his supervisor

Yet, I don’t think this is a sackable offence. We need stern public servants who can implement far-reaching reforms. The man appears to have the stuff of SLS himself. Actions like this make public service thankless in Nigeria.

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Jarus is the CEO of Jarus & JAN Internet Group, owners of Opinions.Ng and JarusHub

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