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Why Gwarzo, SEC DG, two others were suspended by Minister

More details have emerged on why the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, on Wednesday, suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir H. Gwarzo.

This is as additional intelligence gathered Wednesday evening revealed that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will a lot to do in deciphering how and why Gwarzo paid himself N104m severance benefit simply because of being promited from a director to DG in 2015.

Findings revealed that the order followed the consideration of the need to allow for unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against the Director-General and two other top officials of the agency.

The Minister made it clear in a terse statement that the suspension was in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.

Also suspended were two management staff of the Commission, Mr. Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division and Mrs. Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of Legal Department, who have been alleged to engage in financial impropriety in the Commission.

Before now, the agency had been engulfed with series of petitions bordering on abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds which was said to be hampering operations of the agency.

Additional details reveal that Gwarzo is facing at least two enquiries over his role as helmsman of the commission since 2015.

Apart from the administrative enquiry ordered by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Gwarzo is also being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Key issues to unravel include but will not be limited to the owners of the nine companies that were awarded contracts by the SEC under Gwarzo.

They include Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investments Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communications, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Balfort International Investment Limited and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Limited.

According to the EFCC, Gwarzo, his wife and other cronies allegedly used these companies to carry out illegal transactions in SEC.

Gwarzo, 30 months old as SEC DG, was suspended by the finance minister over allegations of financial misappropriation.

He replaced Ms. Arunma Oteh, who resigned in January 2015. Gwarzo was then the Commissioner in charge of operations.

The minister in her statement directed the suspended SEC Director-General to immediately hand over to the most senior officer at the Commission, pending the conclusion of investigation by the API.

Gwarzo allegedly paid himself N104 million severance package when he was appointed DG of SEC from the position of a Director in the same commission.

This is in total disregard to the standing rule in the civil service which states that severance benefit can only be paid to an employee who has concluded his or her service or has completely disengaged from service.

Since Gwarzo was promoted within the commission to become a Director-general, the service rule says that he’s not yet entitled to a severance package.

Gwarzo, aged 52, attended Bayero University in Kano, where he read Economics.