By Etuka Sunday
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, has suspended the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir H. Gwarzo, from Office, to allow for an unhindered investigation of several allegations of financial impropriety leveled against him.
A statement by Deputy Director, Press, Federal Ministry of Finance, Patricia Deworitshe said, the suspension is in line with the Public Service Rules (PSRs) 03405 and 03406.
The statement said, the Minister has set up an Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) to investigate and determine the culpability of the Director-General.
She has directed the suspended SEC Director-General to immediately handover to the most senior officer at the Commission, pending the conclusion of investigation by the API.
Also suspended are two management staff of the Commission – Mr. Abdulsalam Naif Habu, Head of Media Division and Mrs. Anastasia Omozele Braimoh, Head of Legal Department – who have been alleged to engage in financial impropriety in the Commission.
Recall, it was alleged that Mr. Gwarzo on May 26 2015, four days after receiving his letter of appointment, requested that he be paid the sum of N104.8 million as severance package in respect of the end of his appointment as Executive Commissioner, a position he occupied for two years and four months.
According to Agency Report, “despite the advice, the severance package requested by Mr. Gwarzo was paid by SEC into Mr. Gwarzo’s Guaranty Trust Bank account (0023868895). The fraudulent receipt of the sum, SaharaReporters was informed, amounts to earning wealth illegally, an action in contravention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC Act), the Criminal Code Act and the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.
“The action, however, was just a tiny tip of the iceberg of Mr. Gwarzo’s misdeeds.
“In 2015, the year Mr. Gwarzo became SEC D-G, the commission bought three cars Stallion NMN Limited, manufacturers and distributors of Nissan automobiles, as project vehicles.
“However, Mr. Gwarzo diverted one to personal use and gave others to two Executive Commissioners at the time. This ensured that no member of staff or any project team has been able to use the vehicles since they were purchased, as they were kept at the personal residences of Mr. Gwarzo and the Executive Commissioners until the expiration of the former’s tenure in January 2017, when the vehicles were returned to the commission.
Mr. Gwarzo, up till date, is still in possession of the one he took away. He allows his Special Assistant, Mr. Daiyabu Kurfi, to use the vehicle as a status car despite the fact that his grade as Assistant Director entitles him to a monetized car grant/allowance (in lieu of car) and has been paid the amount to which he is entitled.
“Mr. Kurfi has obviously read Mr. Gwarzo’s manual on abuse of office. On June 8 2015, documents showed that the DG collected N84.4million as monetized car grant/allowance for four cars. According to the documents, the money was paid into Mr. Gwarzo’s bank Guaranty Trust Bank Plc account (No. 0023868895).
“The DG would follow the diversion of government property up with fraudulent acquisition of wealth. This he has done through the cornering of contracts for himself, his family and other directors of the commission, who have interests in various companies to which contracts are routinely awarded.
“A major beneficiary of contract awards, documents showed, is Outbound Investment Limited (RC No. 807317). A search at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) showed that Mr. Gwarzo and his two brothers in-law, Messrs. Suleiman Mustapha and Kaloma Dahiru Mustapha, are the directors of the company. Since the assumption of office as D-G by Mr. Gwarzo, Outbound Investment Limited has exclusively supplied diesel to SEC.”