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The “Golden Handshake” that ended SEC DG, Gwarzo career in public service

Mounir Gwarzo

 

 

 

BY OUR REPORTERS––More information has emerged why the former Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, was suspended.
According to information gathered by BusinessToday Newsonline, that documents received by the Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) have reinforced the claim by a whistle-blower that the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Committee (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, is a director and shareholder in two private companies.

The companies are Medusa Investments Limited and Outbound Investment Limited.

Gwarzo had tendered a letter of resignation as director of Medusa Investments Limited dated 19th December, 2012, to the API while appearing before members of the committee in January 2018.

The actions taken by the former SEC boss in 2015 and 2016 however contradicted his letter of resignation as a director in Medusa Investments Limited (MIL).

Gwarzo, according to bank documents, had written a the Wuse branch of a Bank on July 24, 2015, requesting for change of account officer. His letter to the bank was signed in his name as a director of Medusa Investments Limited using the letter-headed paper of the company.

Furthermore, the suspended SEC Dorector-General on August 16, 2016, requested for Naira Mastercards be issued on Medusa Investments Limited’s account for himself and one Khadijat Gwarzo. The request conveyed by a board resolution of Medusa Investments Limited were signed by Mounir Gwarzo and Khadijat Mustapha.

Another indicting document sighted by our correspondent was the authorization of severance payment to the tune of N1.7 billion to 44 SEC’s staff in 2015, an expenditure that was not captured in the Commission’s 2015 budgetary provisions.

It was alleged that Gwarzo had in 2015, introduced a voluntary exit scheme for staff willing to quit the services of SEC.

The scheme was designed to ease out staff on voluntarily with attractive packages as benefit .

Christened ‘2015 golden handshake’, the severance package set the Commission back N1,703,724,848.32, an amount that was not provided for in 2015 budget prepared by the commission.
A source said, “in 2015, he single handedly without budgetary provision paid N1.7 billion to a set of staff under a golden handshake initiative. By law, the SEC Director General is required to seek the approval of the Board and the Minister of finance.
“They should have sought the approval of the minister who, in turn will present it the request to Mr President before it is sent to the National Assembly, but the suspended SEC DG, went outside budget provision to effect the payment.”

The Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) headed by Dr. Mahmoud Isa- Dutse, the permanent secretary of the finance ministry has also unearthed multi million naira paid to firms linked to Gwarzo.

One of the firms- Out Bound Investments Limited has Gwarzo as Director on its board with 200,000 ordinary shares . Several payments amounting to millions of naira were paid by SEC into the firm’s United Bank for Africa( UBA) account.
For instance , SEC on 21 February, 2017 paid to Out Bound Investments, the sum of N2,241,360.00 for supply of diesel. It had, previously on 10 October, 2016 and 27 July, 2016 paid the firm N1.9 million and N2.2 million respectively for supplies.
Other payments made out to Outbound investment Ltd by SEC include that of: 6th June, 2016, N2,178,000 for supply of 11,000 liters of diesel, 17th may, 2016, SEC paid N2,178,000 for for 11,000 litres of supplied diesel; another N2,464,400.00 on 5th April, 2017 for supplying 8,000 litres of diesel that was discharged on 29th March, 2017.

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