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Alleged N115m Corruption: ICPC Arraigns Suspended SEC DG Gwarzo, Other

ABUJA, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission ICPC has arraigned the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission SEC, Mounir Gwarzo and a Commissioner, Zakwanu Garuba, over alleged corruption involving over N115m.

ICPC accused Gawarzo of receiving the sum of the sum of N104,851,154.94 between May and June 2015 as severance benefit when he was yet to retire, resign or disengage from service as well as the sum of N10,983,488.88 in excess of car grant” within the same period.

Garuba, who is an Executive Commissioner, Corporate Services of of the Commission was accused of conferring a corrupt advantage on another public officer in the person of Gwarzo by approving the payments to the suspended SEC boss.

The two accused pleaded not guilty to the five counts, three of which related to Gwarzo and the other two to Garuba, when the charges were read to them before Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Shortly after the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, their Counsels moved their separate bail applications anchored on the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and filed on May 30.

Messrs Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, (for Gwarzo) and A. A Malik (for Garuba), prayed the court to grant bail to their clients in the same terms and conditions as ICPC had done administratively prior to their Tuesday’s arraignment.

The ICPC, which was represented by its lawyer Mr. Henry Emore, confirmed the defence lawyers’ claim that the defendants had been faithful to the conditions of the administrative bail earlier granted them by the commission.

After the briefly argued their clients’ separate applications, Justice Baba-Yusuf granted bail to each of them in the sum of N25m to be secured by a surety each.

Justice Baba-Yusuf noted that the bail was granted under the ACJA which came into force in 2015 – granting bail to a defendant especially when not opposed by the prosecution was sacrosanct.

He therefore directed that the sureties to be produced by the defendants must not be less than a Deputy Director in any Federal Government establishment.

In addition, the judge held that the sureties must be resident and own landed properties in Abuja. He also ruled that they must submit the title documents of the properties to the court’s registry.

The also judge ordered them to deposit their passports with the court’s registry.

Justice Baba-Yusuf held that the essence of the bail was to ensure that the defendants appeared for their trial, noting that they could formally apply for the passports whenever they have cause to travel abroad.

The case has been adjourned till June 28 and 29, 2018 for trial./Source: The Punch


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