Alleged fraud: ICPC detains suspended SEC boss, quizzes officials

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Monday detained the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, for about four hours before releasing him on administrative bail.

It was learnt that Gwarzo, who is also being probed by a panel set up by the Ministry of Finance, was granted bail and asked to return at a later date.

A source at the ICPC said, “Gwarzo honoured our invitation on Monday and was detained after which he was granted bail. He was asked to provide a surety on the level of a director at the Federal Civil Service and must have property in Abuja.

“He met the condition and was released on bail. We have not yet done a thorough interrogation so he will return on a later date.”

The source said some officials of SEC were interrogated at the commission as well.

“From all indications, the SEC DG did not act alone. So, we have invited some of his subordinates and they have been quizzed by the ICPC.”

The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, had last week suspended Gwarzo and two other senior officials for alleged financial impropriety.

The other suspended officials include the Head of Media Division, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif, and Head of Legal Department, Mrs. Anastasia Braimoh.

The suspended SEC boss allegedly paid a severance package of over N104m to himself less than a month after assuming office.

He also allegedly awarded contracts to some firms he had interest in or firms owned by his relatives and cronies.

The firms include: Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investment Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Nigeria Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communication, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Balfort International Limited and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Limited.

In one of the petitions written against Gwarzo, it was alleged that one of the companies, Outbound Investment Limited, is owned by the suspended SEC boss while another firm, Medusa Investment Limited, is jointly owned by Gwarzo and his wife, Khadija.

The petition read in part, “Mr Gwarzo and two of his relatives are directors of Outbound Investment Limited. Since Mr Gwarzo resumed office as the DG of the commission, the company has been the sole supplier of diesel to the commission.

“The company has also supplied air conditioners to the Lagos zonal office of the commission as well as supplied fridges to the commission. Payments made by the commission to the company for contracts executed can be verified from the company’s bank account held with account number 1016723428.

“Mr. Gwarzo is also the Director of Medusa Investment Limited. The only other director of the company is Khadija Mustapher, who is also his wife. The company has actively been used to carry out illegal transactions through the company’s bank account with Guaranty Trust Bank with number 0023953920.”

In the petition which has been sent to the House of Representatives, Gwarzo was accused of diverting money from the commission on the pretext that he was organising staff training.

Some shell companies which lacked the requisite expertise were said to have been paid bogus sums of money for the training.

The petitioner added, “Prior to Mr. Gwarzo’s tenure, the commission used to pay between the sums of N60,000 to N150,000 to reputable training providers such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management, Financial Institutions Training Centre, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos Business School and Centre for Management Development to train (members of) staff of the commission.

“However, when Mr. Gwarzo assumed office of SEC DG, he commenced paying sums ranging from N700,000 to N780,000 per staff (sic) as training fee to training institutions owned by his friends and associates.”Punch

 

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