By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, on Tuesday, arraigned the suspended Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Haliru Gwarzo before an Abuja High Court at Maitama over alleged fraud.
The embattled ex-SEC boss was docked alongside the Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services at the establishment, Zakawaru Garuba on a five-count criminal charge.
The duo were in the charge marked CR/185/18, accused of misappropriating public funds to the tune of about N115million.
ICPC told the court that the defendants committed the offence in June 2015.
Specifically, the anti-graft agency alleged that Gwarzo pocketed over N104.8m as severance benefit, less than a month after he was appointed.
He was equally accused of receiving over N10m as a car grant, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
ICPC maintained that the 2nd defendant was involved in the fraud by conferring a corrupt advantage on another public officer.
He was said to have approved the payments that were made to the suspended SEC boss.
Meantime, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as they were granted bail by trial Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf in the sum of N25m each and a surety each in like sum.
The court stressed that the surety must be a civil servant in a Federal Government agency not below the rank of a Deputy Director.
The judge further directed the defendants to surrender their international passports to the court.
The defendants had through lawyers, Mr. Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, and Mr. A. A Malik, urged the court to grant them bail on same terms upon ICPC earlier gave them administrative bail.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Henry Emore, confirmed to the court that the defendants did not breach their administrative bail conditions.
ICPC told the court that it was not opposed to their bail request.
The case was subsequently adjourned to June 28 and 29 for trial.
It will be recalled that Gwarzo was in November 2017, suspended by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun for alleged financial recklessness.
Some of the allegations against the defendants 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; 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.”