Suspended SEC DG, Gwarzo, to be dismissed

Mounir Gwarzo was suspended as Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission. Dr Abdul Zubair was been appointed as his replacement

The administrative panel of Inquiry set up to look into the allegations of financial misconduct by the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has recommended the dismissal of the suspended officer from the Public Service.

A copy of the report obtained on Tuesday in Abuja by our correspondent, showed that the panel found Gwarzo guilty of violating public service rules and financial regulations.

The document was obtained from a source.

The recommendations are coming two months after the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, suspended Gwarzo from office over allegations of financial misappropriation to the tune of N104.85 million.

Adeosun who also faced an investigative panel of inquiry in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, insisted that Gwarzo’s suspension was valid.

In coming to the conclusion, the Panel, which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Mahmoud Isa-Dutse, said that it made inquiries at Corporate Affairs Commission, banks and other major stakeholders.

The panel said it found official letters, bank accounts and credit cards that tied Gwarzo as a Director to two private companies, while maintaining his position as the Director-General of SEC, which was “a breach of civil service rules”.

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The report, which had also been submitted to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, directed Gwarzo to refund N104.85 million, being the severance package he allegedly approved and received upon his appointment as Director-General of SEC.

“Mr Mounir Gwarzo should be dismissed from the Public Service of the Federal Government for holding positions of a Director in private companies – Medusa Investment Limited and Outbound Investment Limited, while serving as D-G SEC.

“This is in breach of PSR 030424, PSR 030402 and Section 6 of the Investment and Security Act, 2007.

“He should also be referred to the ICPC for further investigation on the allegation of using his position as Director-General to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited in view of the provisions of sections 57 and 58 of the Public Procurement Act.

“He should also be dismissed from the Public Service, having breached paragraph 313 and 316 of the Financial regulations, for engaging in extra budgetary expenditure without appropriate approval,” the report stated.

The panel also recommended that the cases of two management officers of the commission, Mrs Anastasia Braimoh and Mr Abdulsalam Naif, be referred to SEC for appropriate disciplinary action in line with the provisions of the Staff Manual of SEC.

The panel advised the Federal Government to re-orientate public servants to the fact that the Public Service Rules and Financial Regulations awer ground norms of every Government Service Contract, be it at the federal, state or local government levels.

“Accordingly, all Government Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies should be made to understand that the PSR and FR are superior to whatever specific legislation and domestic arrangements that guide their operations,” it stated.

Gwarzo allegedly paid himself N104 .85 million severance package when he was appointed DG SEC from the position of a Director in the same commission.

The action allegedly contravenes the standing rule in the civil service which states that severance benefit can only be paid to an employee who has concluded his or her service or has completely disengaged from service.

Gwarzo was promoted within the commission to become a DG.

Gwarzo was also accused of using his office to award contracts to nine companies in which he allegedly had interest.

They allegedly include Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investments Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communications, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Balfort International Investment Limited and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Limited.

Also suspended was Mr Abdulsalam Naif, Head of Media Division, SEC and Mrs Anastasia Braimoh, Head of Legal Department of SEC for their alleged roles in the matter.