Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, has called for the investigation of Mounir Gwarzo, who was last week suspended by Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, as Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Mr. Keyamo also called for the continuation of the forensic audit of Oando Plc, where financial mismanagement and corruption are suspected to have taken place. The lawyer made the call for the two investigations in a statement released on Wednesday.
While noting that Mr. Gwarzo is already a subject of probe by an administrative panel of inquiry set up by the Finance Minister, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC), he frowned at attempts by the House of Representatives and a section of the media to depict the investigation as a political witch-hunt.
"The clear objective of these political jobbers is to intimidate the agencies investigating the suspended DG of SEC into abandoning their mandate and ultimately erode the confidence of the Nigerian public in the eventual outcome of the investigations," he said.
He explained that well-meaning Nigerians want the probe to ascertain whether or not Mr. Gwarzo paid himself severance benefits of N104.8 million after his elevation to from Executive Commissioner to DG despite having completed his tenure on his previous position.
"If this is true, would it not be in contravention of Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers set out in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act and Sections 122 and 311 of the Penalty Code Act, Laws of FCT?" he asked.
Mr. Keyamo also said the investigation should show whether or not Mr. Gwarzo awarded contracts to companies such as Outbound Investment Limited, Northwind Environmental Services Micro-Technologies Nigeria Limited, in which he and his cronies are directors and shareholders. If the allegation is true, said Mr. Keyamo, it would amount to a contravention of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers set out in the 5th Schedule of the Constitution, Section 311 of the Penal Code Act and Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.
Mr. Keyamo equally said it should be determined whether or not Mr. Gwarzo diverted to personal use vehicles belonging to SEC despite collecting N84.3 million as monetized allowances for four cars, an action that is in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, Section 311 of the Penal Code Act and Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.
While Nigerians await the outcome of the probe, Mr. Keyamo urged the continuation of a transparent and thorough probe of the Oando malfeasance, saying the probe should not be truncated on account of investigations into allegations brought against Mr. Gwarzo.
"The Oando probe and SEC investigation are mutually exclusive despite attempts to link them," he said.
He added that the questions he raised in relation to Mr. Gwarzo are the ones agitating the minds of Nigerians. While calling for speedy conclusions into the investigations, Mr. Keyamo urged all the bodies and agencies involved to be firm, decisive and refuse to be distracted by those imputing political motives into the saga.
Mr. Gwarzo was suspended after he wrote the Finance Minister to demand that she put in writing a verbal directive calling for a halt to the forensic audit of Oando, where Mrs. Adeosun worked before being appointed Finance Commissioner in Ogun State and subsequently Finance Minister.