Panel recommends Gwarzo’s dismissal says he gave his company contract as SEC DG

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The panel set up to investigate Mounir Gwarzo, suspended director general of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has recommended his dismissal on grounds that he awarded contracts worth N33 million to his company.

The administrative panel of inquiry into allegations of violations of public service rules, financial regulations and other extant rules and regulations, which was set up by the ministry of finance, also said Gwarzo admitted to the allegations.

The panel had been directed to investigate claims that Gwarzo was a director in Medusa Limited and Outbound Investment Limited while still serving as SEC DG and also used his influence to award contracts to those companies.

According to the panel’s report, he was a majority shareholder in Medusa Limited with a shareholding of N1.2 million.

“His purported letter of resignation dates 19th December 2012 was not part of CAC’s records as at the date of the inquiry.

“It was equally discovered from the account opening mandate obtained from GTBank that Gwarzo was at the date of the inquiry signatory to account No 322324264/1/110 maintained by the company with the bank.”

He was also reported to have signed letters as the company director to the bank requesting a change of account number and a credit card for the company.

Both letters were dated July 24, 2015, and August 16, 2016, respectively.

“When Gwarzo was confronted with the above letters, he admitted to having authored and signed them but claimed that it was a regrettable action” the report stated.

Outbound Investments Limited, which benefitted from SEC contacts worth N33,736,596, Gwarzo claimed the company belongs to his wife’s family and stated that he was only representing his wife on the board.

Based on the findings, the panel said Gwarzo had breached PSR 030424 and PSR 030402 which prohibits public officers from holding shares in both public and private companies operating in Nigeria or abroad except that they must not be directors in public companies and may only be directors in public companies if nominated by the government.

The panel also recommended that he be referred to the ICPC for further investigation of the allegation of using his position as DG to influence the award of contracts.

In November 2017, Kemi Adeosun, the former minister of finance, had ordered Gwarzo’s suspension saying he received a severance package upon assuming office as SEC DG.

Gwarzo was an executive commissioner in SEC before becoming DG.

In response, Gwarzo had claimed that he was because he protested Adeosun’s alleged directive to halt a forensic audit being carried out on Oando at the time.

Gwarzo had directed a forensic audit of Oando over allegations of irregularities, notably the increased trading in the company’s shares before its declaration of a N183 billion loss — said to be the biggest in Nigeria’s corporate history.

The office of the minister has denied the allegation, maintaining that Gwarzo was suspended following allegations that he was carting away documents to undermine a petition against him.

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