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ICPC Arraigns Suspended SEC DG, Gwarzo

By Tseaa Armstrong, Abuja

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday arraigned the suspended Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, in an FCT High Court in Apo.

He was arraigned alongside a Principal Manager, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Jamila Muhammad.

The duo were arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi on 14 counts bordering on gratification and abuse of office.

ICPC alleged that Mr Gwarzo on or about December 28, 2016, while serving as SEC DG, knowingly held a private interest as a director and shareholder of Outbound Investment Limited, a company which was awarded a contract to supply and install 12 units of air conditioners.

The ICPC alleged that four units of refrigerators at SEC Lagos zonal office were bought by SEC for N3.4 million contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000.

“Among other things, you used your position as SEC DG to gratify self when Outbound Investment Limited was awarded the contract to supply and install 12 units of air conditioners and four units of refrigerators at SEC Lagos zonal office by the Commission.

“You thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

“On about November 15, 2015, you Mrs Muhammad, while being a public officer used your position as Principal Manager at NIMC to gratify self.

“Outlook Communications Limited, where you were a shareholder and director was awarded a contract to air a 60-minute awareness campaign radio jingles on e-dividend in the North-East region for the sum of N798 million, contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

“You knowingly and directly held a private interest as a shareholder and director of Outlook Communications Limited, which was awarded a contract to air a 60-minute awareness campaign radio jingles on e-dividend in the North-Central states for the sum of N1. 3 million by SEC.

“You thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000,” she was further charged.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them in court.

Omokayode Dada, defendant Counsel for Mr Gwarzo, however, moved the motion for his bail.

On his part, counsel for the second defendant, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, drew the court’s attention to her absence in court on February 18 when the matter first came up, which prompted a bench warrant for her arrest to be issued.

He informed the court that Muhammad’s absence in court was sue to her ill-health, adding that ICPC had effected the warrant order.

He then withdrew a motion for appeal and affidavit of urgency filed on the second defendant behalf, seeking the court to set aside the bench warrant order.

Mr Awomolo subsequently moved bail application for Mrs Muhammad, assuring that she would not jump bail if granted bail.

Ruling in the defendants’ bail applications, Mr Adeniyi held that bail was not meant to set the defendants free but to ensure their attendance in court to face trial.

He added that the defendants were statutorily entitled to bail in accordance with the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

Mr Adeniyi, therefore, admitted each of the defendants to N10 million bail with one surety in like sum.

The judge ordered that the defendants be remanded at Kuje Correctional Facility pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions.

He then adjourned the matter until April 22 and April 23 for commencement of trial.

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