ICPC finally arraigns Ex-SEC DG Gwarzo, Co-Accused over alleged N12.8M Contract Scam

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has finally arraigned the former Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, before a Federal High Court, Abuja, after previous failed efforts to dock him.

Gwarzo was arraigned before Justice A.O Adeniyi, alongside a Principal Manager with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Ms. Jamila Ahmad Muhammed, for allegedly engaging in a N12.8 million contract scam.

The ex-SEC DG and Ms. Muhammed are facing a 14-count charge bordering on abuse of office and receiving gratification as public officers.

Gwarzo was charged on 6 counts for awarding several contracts to Outbound Investment Limited, a private company where he allegedly doubled as a Director even while he was DG of SEC. 

Ms. Muhammed, on her part is facing an 8-count charge of gratification and abuse of office for running a private company while in the employment of the federal government as her company Outlook Communication Limited, was awarded contracts to the tune of N4, 372, 080 by SEC.

ICPC told the court that their actions were contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under the same sections.

Details from the charge sheet revealed that the former SEC boss, between December 2016 and March 2017, allegedly awarded contracts for the supply of 12 units of air-conditioners, 16, 000 litres of diesel and four units of refrigerators at the total cost of N8, 454, 000 to his own company.

The air-conditioners and refrigerators were to be supplied to the Lagos Zonal office of SEC at the cost of N3, 499, 200, while a total of N4, 954, 400 was allegedly awarded for the supply of diesel to the headquarters on two occasions in February and March, 2017 respectively. 

Ms. Muhammed’s offences, as indicated on the charge sheet, included allegedly receiving N4, 372, 080 contracts through her company for the production of radio jingles on E-Dividend for broadcast in the three northern zones of the country, including N1, 080, 000 for the production of the same jingles in Hausa and Pidgin languages.  

Both Gwarzo and Ms. Muhammed pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.

Their counsel, O. A Dada and Sani Yusuf for Gwarzo and Ms. Muhammed respectively, moved applications for their bail which was not opposed by counsel to ICPC, George Lawal.

Justice Adeniyi, while ruling on the bail applications, granted each of the accused bail in the sum of N10 million each and one surety for each in like sum.

He ruled further that each of the sureties must be resident within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and must not be below the rank of a Director in the employment of the federal government or the Federal Capital Territory Administration. 

The matter was then adjourned to 22nd and 23rd April, 2020 for trial. 

Gwarzo and his co-accused had frustrated repeated attempts to arraign them previously for reasons ranging from claims of non-service of court summons to ill-health of Ms. Muhammed.