By Etuka Sunday
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has urged the new ICPC Boss to ensure that the weighty allegations against suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo are not swept under the carpet, but rather be made to face the consequences of his actions.
In a petition addressed to the President Mohammad Buhari and signed by CACOL Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, the group stated that in pursuit of its avowed commitment to the fight against corruption, it presented the perceived official excesses and acts of corruption perpetrated by Mounir Gwarzo while serving as SEC DG.
CACOL had in November 2017 drawn the attention of the Nigerian government and the public to a large scale office abuses and gross official recklessness on the part of Gwarzo what hey accused of engaging in series of anti establishment manipulations to enrich himself through acts that are at variance with civil service rules and regulations.
The group is now accusing the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission of a plot to ensure Gwarzo is set free by the court.
According to the group, “the matter was taken from the EFCC and handed over to the ICPC. Rather than the ICPC charging Gwarzo for the two infractions based on the two verified allegations levelled against him, the ICPC chose to bring him before the FCT High Court in Abuja for only one infraction. It is instructive to note that his wife is also a member of the FCT judiciary.
“Perhaps more surprisingly, it would appear the investigator, one Taiwo Olorunyomi was merely in court to validate the appropriateness of Mr. Gwarzo paying himself gratuity while still in service and challenging the evidence put together by the very Commision (ICPC) he is working for .
“ Why has Adesina Rajeev, the ICPC prosecutor chosen to invite a witness who came to court mainly to validate the appropriateness of Gwarzo paying himself gratuity while still in office? why is Gwarzo only being tried for one infraction when he was investigated by both the EFCC and ICPC and the Administrative Panel set up by the Minister of Finance for two offences? Is there a grand plan to deliberately lose the case and let Mr. Gwarzo walk away free and be reinstated to SEC as we have reliably gathered?
The group therefore called on the newly sworn in Chairman if ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owosonoye to immediately order a probe into the matter while urging President Buhari to intervene decisively in unearthing the issues raised with strict compliance with the rule of law.
Gwarzo is alleged to have paid himself a princely sum of N104 million upon resumption of duty as Director General. He claimed the money was his severance package as Executive Commissioner, which was his position in the commission before he was appointed by former President Goodluck Jonathan to head SEC in 2015.
Other allegations against Gwarzo as contained in the petition include:
“Mr. Gwarzo and two of his relatives are Directors of Outbound Investment Ltd. (the Company). Since Mr. Gwarzo assumed office as DG of the Commission, the Company has been the sole supplier of diesel to the Commission.
“The Company has also supplied air conditioners to the Lagos Zonal office of the Commission, as well as supplied fridges to the Commission.
“Payments made by the Commission to the Company for contracts executed can be verified from the Company’s bank account held with United Bank for Africa Plc, with account number 1016723428.
“In addition, the Company has executed more contracts for the Commission which are not listed in Appendix B1, however these contracts can be verified from the Commission’s accounting records.