March 14, 2019/CACOL
Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on his Excellency Muhammadu Buhari GCFR president, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency direct the ICPC to charge former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Haliru Gwarzo on the abuse of office by the award of contracts to his companies as well as being a director in these Companies as against the public service
The Centre also urged the newly sworn-in Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye to probe the alleged high-level corruption against Gwarzo.
The Group who made the call in a statement signed by the Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said that in strange twist, the matter seems to be compromised by charging him for only one infraction leaving out the most serious infraction.
CACOL therefore appealed to the ICPC chairman to immediately order a probe into the matter, urging him to reassign the case to another team within the agency. The Centre had alleged That the Administrative Panel of Inquiry recommended that the holding of the position of the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as directorship in two private companies (Medusa Investment Limited and Outbound Investments Limited) by Mr. Gwarzo was in breach of public service rules 030424 and 030402 and Section 6 of the Investment and Securities Act, 2007.
In addition, the panel also recommended that Mr. Mounir Gwarzo should be referred to the ICPC for further investigation of the allegation of using his position as Director-General to award of contracts to the above mentioned companies in view of the provisions of Sections 57 (12) (b) and 58 (5) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
The allegations made against Mr. Gwarzo as well as the findings made by the Administrative Panel of Inquiry set up by the former Honourable Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun point to the likely contravention of Section 19 of the ICPC Act, 2000. It
provides as follows; “Any public officer who uses his office or position to gratify or confer any corrupt or unfair advantage upon himself or any relation or associate of the public officer or any other public officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be
liable to imprisonment for five (5) years without option of fine.”
The Ministry of Finance subsequently referred its findings to the ICPC alongside crucial pieces of evidence which point to Mr. Mounir Gwarzo’s culpability. This the House of Representative in their report equally upheld the suspension on the ground that Mr. Gwarzo has a case to answer.
The group said it is therefore shocking that when the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) finally arraigned Mr. Gwarzo at the FCT High Court in Maitama, the Commission only arraigned him on lesser infractions relating to the receipt of illegal severance benefits and car grants.
ICPC shockingly failed to charge Mr. Gwarzo for the more serious infractions relating to being a director in companies as well as using same firms to siphon money from the
Securities and Exchange Commission through the award of contracts to the companies belonging to himself, relatives, in laws and cronies; thereby using his office as Director General to confer corrupt advantage upon himself, his relations and associates.
The Centre stated that with Gwarzo’s wife as a member of the FCT judiciary, and perhaps more surprisingly, “it would appear the investigator, one TaiwoOlorunyomi, who claimed to have been an investigator with the ICPC since 2005 was merely in court to validate the appropriateness of Gwarzo paying himself gratuity while still in service and challenging the evidence put together by the very Commission he is working for.”
Adeniran, queried, “Why would an experienced investigator like Olorunyomi come before the Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf and begin to express doubt about the body of evidence the agency he works for put forward, this clearly point to a case of compromise and also considering the fact that the serious allegation was deliberately left out by the officer at the point of arraignment of Gwarzo.
CACOL appealed to the ICPC chairman to immediately order a probe into the matter, urging him to reassign the case to another team within the agency. The Centre also called on the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Special Fraud Unit (SFU) and the EFCC to beam their searchlight on what is going on with the trial process.