N115m scam: ICPC seeks dismissal of ‘No- case submission’ filed by Gwarzo
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has asked the court to overrule a No-Case Submission filed by the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, and former Executive Commissioner (SEC) Zakawanu Garuba over lack of merit.
Gwarzo is facing multiple charges which include using his office to confer undue advantage upon himself by receiving N104.9 million as severance allowance from SEC while still in the employment of the agency. Garuba is charged with conferring undue advantage on a public officer, which is contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
According to a statement by the spokesperson for ICPC, Rasheedat Okoduwa, the case is before Justice Hussaini Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court,Abuja.
The prosecuting counsel, Raheem Adesina, asked the defendants to explain the issue of severance package benefits that were paid to Gwarzo.
Adesina drew the attention of the court to the amended charge which was granted and the defendants took a fresh plea.
The prosecuting counsel also moved a motion for extension of time to file his written address which was not opposed and was granted by the court.
Thereafter the counsel to the defendants Abdulhakeem Mustapha a Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) and Robert Emupkoeruo, adopted their written addresses before asking the court to uphold the No-Case Submission and discharge the defendants.
The prosecuting counsel also adopted his written address and urged the court to dismiss the No-Case Submission for lacking merit.
The counsel argued that the defendants relied heavily on ICPC’s Exhibit 3 to justify the payment of severance benefits to Gwarzo whereas the document never mentioned severance benefit.
The counsel argued that what was decided in the exhibit were retirement and resignation benefits for political appointees who have spent at least two years at SEC.
He concluded that the word ‘severance’ was smuggled into the document purposely to confer corrupt advantage on Gwarzo because at the time he collected the money he was neither retired nor resigned from SEC
Part of the charge reads; “That you Dr. Mounir Haliru Gwarzo (M) between May and June 2015 or thereabouts at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, during the period of your
appointment as the Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), being entrusted with the management of SEC did commit criminal breach of trust to wit: dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N104,851,154.94 (One Hundred and Four Million, Eight
Hundred and Fifty One Thousand ,One Hundred and fifty four Naira and Ninety Four Kobo), as your severance package which you were not entitled to, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 and punishable under 312 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 volume 4
Laws of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, 2007”.
“That you Zakawany Garuba (M) on or about June 2015 or thereabouts at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, while being a public officer as a Commissioner in the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) used your position to confer a corrupt advantage upon another public officer to wit: approving the sum of N104,851,154.94( One Hundred and Four million, Eight Hundred and Fifty-One Thousand, One Hundred and Fifty-Four Naira Ninety-Four Kobo) as severance package to the then Director-General of SEC; Dr. Mounir Haliru Gwarzo
which he was not entitled to and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000”.
The judge adjourned the ruling to 12th April, 2019, adding that the defendants’ bail should continue.
Stella Enenche, Abuja