N104.8m Fraud: ICPC asks Court of Appeal to dismiss Gwarzo’s Acquittal

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has asked the Court of Appeal to set aside the acquittal granted to the suspended Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr. Mounir Gwarzo by a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court.

The Commission, in an appeal filed before the Abuja Division of the appellate court said that Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the FCT High Court, 4, erred in his ruling when he freed Gwarzo and a former Commissioner of SEC, Zakawanu Garuba of N104.9 million severance package and car allowance fraud.

Gwarzo was charged to court by ICPC on the allegations that he abused his office by receiving the sum of N104, 851, 154.94 as severance benefit which he was not entitled to and receiving N10 million in excess of the car grant that he was entitled to, when he moved from Commissioner in SEC to Director General of the same agency.

ICPC’s Lawyer, Raheem Adesina, citing 12 grounds why the appellate court should order for a retrial of the accused persons as well as re-assign the case to another judge, said that justice Baba-Yusuf’s reasons for the acquittal of Gwarzo were against the extant laws that set up SEC and other federal government agencies.

Adesina also stated that the federal government was denied justice when the trial judge, Baba-Yusuf, set aside the provisions of ‘Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances) Act, 2008’ amended, which prescribed only N5.8 million severance package, when he ruled in favour of Gwarzo.

Adesina further argued that it was a travesty of justice for Baba-Yusuf to rule that the SEC board has all the powers to fix the severance package and other remunerations against extant laws of the land.

He added that the trial judge shut his eyes to obvious evidence before him, and deliberately avoided interpreting the document tendered by ICPC that showed only the payment of retirement and resignation benefits was permissible for political appointees that have spent two years and above in SEC.