Suspended SEC DG: Probe panel to invite nine firms

Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo

The panel, set up to probe the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo, is set to invite nine firms alleged to have been used by him to siphon funds from the commission.

The report of the panel is expected to be sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, which is also investigating Gwarzo.

The firms include Outbound Investment Limited, Medusa Investment Limited, Northwind Environmental Services, Micro-Technologies Nigeria Limited, Tida International Limited, Outlook Communication, Acromac Nigeria Limited, Balfort International Limited and Interactive Worldwide Nigeria Limited.

According to some petitions against Gwarzo, some of the companies allegedly belong to him or his relatives.

In one of the petitions, it was alleged that one of the companies, Outbound Investment Limited, is owned by the suspended SEC boss while another firm, Medusa Investment Limited, is jointly owned by Gwarzo and his wife, Khadija.

The petition read in part, “Mr. Gwarzo and two of his relatives are directors of Outbound Investment Limited. Since Mr. Gwarzo assumed office as the DG of the commission, the company has been the sole supplier of diesel to the commission.

“The company has also supplied air conditioners to the Lagos zonal office of the commission as well as supplied fridges to the commission. Payments made by the commission to the company for contracts executed can be verified from the company’s bank account held with account number 1016723428.

“Mr. Gwarzo is also the director of Medusa Investment Limited. The only other director of the company is Khadija Mustapher, his wife. The company has actively been used to carry out illegal transactions through the company’s bank account with Guaranty Trust Bank with number 0023953920.”

In the petition, sent to the House of Representatives, Gwarzo was accused of diverting money from the commission under the pretext that he was organising staff training.

Some shell companies, which lacked the requisite expertise, were alleged to have been paid bogus sums of money for the training.

The petitioner added, “Prior to Mr. Gwarzo’s tenure, the commission used to pay between N60,000 and N150,000 to reputable training providers such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Nigerian Institute of Management, Financial Institutions Training Centre, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Lagos Business School and Centre for Management Development to train staff of the commission.

“However, when Mr. Gwarzo assumed office as SEC DG, he commenced paying sums ranging from N700,000 to N780,000 per staff (sic) as training fee to training institutions owned by his friends and associates.

“Some of the training providers were disguised as reputable foreign training organisations even when it was evident that some of the training providers did not have any pedigree or history of training anyone abroad.”

Gwarzo also allegedly collected the sum of N6m from the commission to fly first-class to Hong Kong in October 2016 in total disregard for the Federal Government’s directive issued in April 2016 in circular SGF/6/S2/X/545, which prohibited public officials from flying first-class.

The N6m was said to have been paid into his Guaranty Trust Bank account with number 0023868895. Punch

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