N115m fraud: ICPC charges suspended SEC DG, Gwarzo
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission has preferred three charges against the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, The PUNCH can report
In the charge marked CR/185/18, which was filed before a Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, the ICPC accused Gwarzo of committing the fraud in June 2015.
The commission also preferred two charges against the SEC Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Zakwanu Garuba, for allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the fraud.
According to the anti-graft agency, Gwarzo received over N104m as severance benefit less than a month after his appointment.
The suspended SEC boss was also accused of receiving over N10m as a ‘car grant’ contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
The charges read, “That you, Mounir Gwarzo, on or about June 2015, while being the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, received the sum of N104, 851, 154.94 as severance benefits when you had yet to retire, resign or disengage from the service of SEC. You conferred a corrupt advantage upon yourself and committed an offence under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
“That you committed a criminal breach of trust to wit: dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N104, 851, 154.94 as your severance benefit contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Vol 4 of FCT Abuja 2007.
“That you conferred a corrupt advantage upon yourself when you received the sum of N10, 983, 488.88 in excess of car grant payable to you and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.”
Gwarzo was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in November 2017 for alleged financial impropriety.
Adeosun also set up an administrative panel of inquiry to investigate and determine the culpability of the suspended DG.
The panel in January 2018 recommended Gwarzo’s sacking.
The suspended SEC boss had, however, denied all the allegations levelled against him, insisting that he was being persecuted by the minister for refusing to drop the probe of Oando Plc, an allegation which the minister denied.
While speaking before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions at the National Assembly in Abuja, the suspended SEC DG had admitted receiving the N104m severance benefit, defending the payment as his due, having served as a commissioner for over two years prior to being appointed as the DG.
He had said, “The minister called me to her office and demanded that I should stop the forensic audit of Oando. I asked that she put it in writing, but she called for my resignation instead. She said if I failed to resign, then I would be suspended.
“And I insisted I would not do anything the minister asked me to do. What followed the next day was my suspension.”Punch