Mounir Gwarzo

The Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) has arraigned suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, before an Abuja Hugh Court, for allegedly paying himself severance benefits of N104.9m and N10m in excess of car grant while still in service. 

Gwarzo, alongside Zakawani Garba, a commissioner in SEC, was arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on financial improprieties.

However, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, the presiding judge, granted them bail in the sum of N25million each and a surety each in like sum. 

The judge directed that the sureties must be civil servants in a Federal Government agency of not below the rank of Deputy Director.

The anti-graft commission alleged that the defendants connived to commit the fraud.

They both pleaded not guilty.

According to the charge preferred on Gwarzo by the ICPC, he allegedly enriched  himself with N104.9 million as severance allowance while he was still in active service at the commission.

He is also accused of enriching himself with N10million paid in excess of his official car allowances.

Garba was accused of abusing his office by allowing the payments to Gwarzo.

The two defendants are being charged to court by the ICPC on behalf of the Federal Government.

Gwarzo’s Counsel, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, made application for bail. He asked the court to grant his client bail on the same terms and conditions which ICPC had done prior to the arraignment.

ICPC’s lawyer, Henry Emore, agreed, saying the defendants were standing trial for bailable offences.

The judge granted them bail in the sum of N25m each and a surety each in like sum. He also directed that the surety must be a civil servant in a Federal Government agency of not below the rank of Deputy Director.

The court adjourned the case for further hearing till June 29.

Gwarzo was suspended as SEC boss in November 2017 by the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun.

On Monday, he challenged his suspension in court.

In a suit filed at the National Industrial Court, Gwarzo is contending that the Minister of Finance has no power to suspend him as SEC DG and that it is only the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who can suspend him with the approval of the Senate.

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