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ICPC arraigns suspended SEC director-general, Gwarzo, 1 other

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) on Thursday arraigned the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr. Munir Gwarzo in an FCT High Court in Apo.

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

Gwarzo and Muhammad were arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, on 14 counts bordering on gratification and abuse of office.

The ICPC alleged that Gwarzo on or about December 28, 2016 while serving as SEC director general 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 anti -graft agency 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 the Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000.

Also, the ICPC alleged that among things, Gwarzo used his position as SEC chief executive to gratify himself 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, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

The ICPC alleged that Muhammad on about November 15, 2015, while being a public officer used her position as a principal manager at the NIMC to gratify herself.

ICPC alleged that when Outlook Communications Limited, where she was a shareholder and director was awarded a contract to air a 60-minute awareness campaign and radio jingles on e-dividend in the north-east region for N798 million, contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

She was further alleged to have 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 N1.3 million, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000.

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

Counsel for Gwarzo, Omokayode Dada however, moved the motion for his bail and urged the court to grant the first defendant bail.

On his part, counsel for the second defendant, Chief 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 due to her ill-health, adding that the ICPC had effected the warrant order and therefore, withdrew a motion for appeal, and affidavit of urgency filed on the second defendant’s behalf, seeking the court to set aside the bench warrant order.

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

Ruling on the defendants’ bail applications, Justice Adeniyi held that bail is 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.

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

The surety, according to him, must be a resident of the FCT and a civil servant on the employment of either the Federal Government or any of its agencies or FCT Administration or any of its agencies.

The judge ordered that the defendants be remanded at Kuje Correctional Facility pending the fulfilment of their bail conditions and adjourned the matter until April 22 -23 for commencement of trial.

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Ihesiulo Grace

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