A Nigerian anti-corruption advocacy group, the Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to make public the results of its investigation into the activities of Mounir Haliru Gwarzo, the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The group made the call at a press conference held at the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) secretariat in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, December 14.
The anti-corruption group also commended the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, for suspending the SEC boss and urged her not to give in to media pressure allegedly sponsored by Mr. Gwarzo.
Mr. Gwarzo was appointed as Executive Commissioner in SEC by former President Goodluck Jonathan and was promptly promoted to the position of the DG before the end of his four-year tenure as a commissioner.
However, he was suspended upon allegations that he paid a sum of N104 million to himself as a severance package when he was appointed DG SEC.
The offense contravenes the civil service rule that disqualifies a public officer who gains promotion from earning severance since such an officer is still in public service.
Mr. Gwarzo was also accused of awarding contracts to nine companies that are allegedly owned by him and some of his family members.
The anti-graft commission is investigating the owners of the nine companies. They include Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investments Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communications, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Belfort International Investment Limited and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Limited.
The Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria queried the EFCC on why it has not made public the ownership of these companies.
The group also called on Mrs. Adeosun to order a thorough audit of the SEC’s finances during which the period the suspended boss served as DG.
The organization further demanded:
“That Mrs. Kemi Adeosun make public the report of the Administrative Panel put in place to investigate the allegations against Mr. Gwarzo. She should also direct her office to forward the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission.
“That President Muhammadu Buhari should take immediate steps to constitute a Board for the Securities and Exchange Commission as provided for by the extant laws establishing the commission. The Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007, which gives the Commission its current powers, also made provisions for the appointment of a nine (9) member board to be headed by a chairman.
“The board is to, among other things, ensure that no Director General of the Commission can become law unto himself or herself and act with impunity without appropriate checks by the board.”
The group also urged the anti-corruption agencies that have been petitioned on the matter to quickly agree among themselves on which of them is to actually investigate, arrest and prosecute Mr. Gwarzo.