Business Hilights
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Issues around probing Oando land Gwarzo in ICPC net, charged to court

Though the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun had repeatedly denied it, the embattled and suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir Gwarzo who is now charged to court on a three count, had insisted that his travails stemmed from insistence that observed infractions on Oando Plc’s shares must be probed.

Strong indications emerged this week that the matter has gone nuclear as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has preferred three charges against Mr. Mounir Gwarzo.

Details from the charge sheet marked CR/185/18, read as follows: “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.”

Business Hilights recalls that Gwarzo was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, in November 2017 for alleged financial impropriety and this was followed by an administrative panel of inquiry set up by the Minister to investigate and determine the culpability of the suspended DG.

Whereas the panel in January 2018 recommended Gwarzo’s ouster, he was quick to deny 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.

In his answers before the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions at the National Assembly in Abuja, Gwarzo 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.

However, the key issue according to him is that “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.”

The minister had continued to deny Gwarzo’s claims even up till now he has been charged to court.

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