Suspended SEC DG Arraigned on 3-count Charge, Granted Bail

The Federal gpGovernment Tuesday slammed a three-count charge on the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Maitama, Abuja.
Gwarzo was suspended by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, in November 2017 for alleged financial impropriety.
Arraigned alongside Gwarzo is the SEC Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services, Zakwanu Garuba, for allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the fraud.
Garuba is facing a separate two-count charge.
They were, however, granted bail in the sum of N25m each with one surety in like sum after they pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The sureties are to hold position of not less than deputy director in federal ministry and to have landed properties within the jurisdiction of the court.
In the charge with suit no CR/185/18, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC ) accused Gwarzo of receivingn over N104m as severance benefit between May and June 2015 when he has not retired, resigned or disengaged from service.
He was also accused of collecting the sum of N10,983,488.88 in excess of car grant” in the same period contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
One of 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; conferred a corrupt advantage upon yourself and committed an offence under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
The second charge noted: “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.”
Garuba, a former Speaker, Edo House of Assembly, and an Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services of SEC, was accused of conferring a corrupt advantage on another public officer in the person of Gwarzo by approving the payments to the suspended SEC boss.
He was accused in the two-count charge of aiding and abetting fraud.
They pleaded not guilty to the charge.,
Thereafter, counsel to Gwarzo, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN) and A. A Malik , counsel to Garuba, urged the court to grant bail to their clients.
They submitted, separately, that their clients have been on administrative bail by the ICPC and they have not defaulted.
The prosecution counsel, Henry Emore, did not oppose the bail applications but urged the court to give stringent bail conditions to ensure that the defendants come to court to stand trial.
In a short ruling on the bail applications, Justice Baba Yusuf said as the prosecution did not object, granting bail to the defendants was sacrosanct, adding bail was not for punishment but to ensure they come to come to face their trial.
They were granted bail to the sum of N25m each and one surety each in like sum.
The judge ordered them to deposit their passports with the court’s registry
They can formally apply for the passports whenever they have cause to travel abroad, the judge said.
Consequently, court adjourned the case until June 28 and 29 for trial.

Author: News Editor

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