More revelations of gross financial impropriety and abuse of office allegedly perpetuated by the suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, came to the fore on Thursday, justifying why the Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) set up by the Federal Government recommended his dismissal from public service.
Top on the list of Gwarzo’s misconducts was the payment of N1.7 billion unapproved extra-budgetary spending as retirement benefits to 44 SEC workers in 2015, captured as “The Golden Handshake”.
Golden Handshake simply means paying off staff who voluntarily retire from service before their due date.
The money was neither appropriated by the National Assembly nor captured under any supplementary budget; a development that negates civil service rules.
More so, documents received by the Administrative Panel of Inquiry (API) and sighted by this newspaper reinforced the claim by a whistle-blower that the suspended SEC boss is a director and shareholder in two private companies even while in office. The companies are Medusa Investments Limited and Outbound Investment Limited.
Our checks reveal that Gwarzo had tendered a letter of resignation as Director of Medusa Investments Limited dated December 19, 2012, to the API while appearing before members of the committee in January 2018.
However, the actions taken by the former SEC boss in 2015 and 2016 however negated his letter of resignation as a director in Medusa Investments Limited (MIL).
Gwarzo, according to bank documents, had written a 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 Director-General on August 16, 2016, requested that 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.
It was on the strength of the overwhelming evidence against Gwarzo that the API recommended his dismissal from public service and asked that he should be handed over to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for prosecution.