Post Views: 253 Justice Hussaini Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Monday fixed April 12, 2019 as d...
Justice Hussaini Baba-Yusuf of the Federal Capital Territory High Court sitting in Maitama, Abuja, on Monday fixed April 12, 2019 as date to rule on the application for no case submission filed by Mounir Gwarzo, suspended Director-General of Nigeria’s Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Trial judge fixed the date after prosecuting counsel, as well as counsels to the first (Gwarzo) and second defendant (Zakwanu Garba, and the Executive Commissioner).
The duo was arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, before Justice Baba-Yusuf, on five counts bordering on fraud.
At Monday’s sitting, the defendants, through their counsels, Abdulhakeem Mustapha (SAN); and Robert Emukperuo respectively, adopt their addresses on the no-case submission filed before the court. This was after the prosecuting counsel, Adesina Raheem had informed the court that the prosecution was closing its case against the defendants with the testimony of the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), Taiwo Olorunyomi.
The defendants’ counsels stated that they have hinged their submission pursuant to Section 302 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
Earlier, under cross-examination by Mustapha, Olorunyomi told the court that the office of SEC Executive Commissioner and that of the D-G were different, adding that the President appointed the DG based on recommendations of the Finance Minister, subject to confirmation by the Senate.
According to him, a person could not occupy the offices of executive commissioner and DG at the same time, adding that Gwarzo was an executive commissioner before May, 2015 when he was appointed SEC DG.
“He had spent two years (as executive commissioner) by the time he was appointed Director-General,” the witness said.
Olorunyomi told the court that as an investigator since 2005, he was supposed to critique all material evidence for or against a defendant under investigation.
He said he was seeing Exhibit D9 for the first time in court, showing that the six SEC officials who signed the document confirmed that the payment to Gwarzo was correct.
When asked by Mustapha to read the political office holders affected by Certain Political Officer Holders Salaries and Emolument Act, the witness argued that the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Ports Authority, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and SEC were not listed in the Act.
Also, under cross-examination by counsel to Garuba, Emukperuo, the witness confirmed that the team of investigators concluded that Exhibit ICPC 3 (extract from SEC Board meeting of July, 2002) was illegal.
According to him, “the major document we looked at, to conclude that it is illegal, is Exhibit ICPC 19 “(Certain Political Officer Holders Salaries and Emolument Act).”
He told the court that the office of Executive Commissioner was for a fixed period of time, adding that when the first defendant left that office the tenure came to an end.
The ICPC had accused Gwarzo of committing fraud to the tune of about N115m in June 2015, when he held forth as SEC Director-General.
It alleged that the suspended D-G received the sum of N104,851,154.94 as severance benefits when he had yet to retire, resign or disengage from the service of SEC.
It added that he conferred a corrupt advantage upon himself when he received the sum of N10,983,488.88 in excess of car grant payable to him.
Garuba, on the other hand, was accused by ICPC of allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the alleged fraud which contravene the constitution of the federal Republic of Nigeria.