Gwarzo: Rights Group Accuse FG, Corruption Agencies of Stalling On Investigation

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Lagos, Nigeria, December 19, 2017:

Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria, a human right, good governance and
non-government organization, has raised alarm over alleged attempts to
surreptitiously close investigations against suspended Director General of
Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mournir Haliru Gwarzo. This was
revealed at a press conference held on Thursday, December 14, 2017, at the
Rights House, CDHR Secretariat, Ikeja, Lagos.

This disclosure at the conference was made by well-known human rights
activist and leader of the Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria team,
Comrade Shina Loremikan, said the Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria has
followed with keen interest issues revolving around allegations of gross
abuse of office and official recklessness levelled against the now
suspended Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission,
(SEC), Mr. Mournir Haliru Gwarzo.

Comrade Loremikan said, “we find it curious that weeks after the
allegations have been made and a formal petition sent to all the President
Muhammadu Buhari, the leadership of the National Assembly and the
anti-corruption agencies by one of our sister organisations, not a single
arrest has been made by any of the anti-corruption agencies. We also find
it disturbing that apart from the initial invitation and questioning of
Mr. Munir Gwarzo for just a few hours by the Independent Corrupt Practices
Commission (ICPC), nothing has been heard by the public on the status of
the investigation. Indeed, we must ask, how come no arrest has been made
by any of the anti-corruption agencies on this matter?

According to Comrade Loremikan, “It is in view of the lukewarm attitude of
the government and the anti-corruption agencies to this issue that we
hereby urge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to quickly make
public the outcome of its ongoing investigation into the activities of Mr.
Mournir Haliru Gwarzo’s as the Director General of the Securities and
Exchange Commission. The EFCC is in possession of all supporting documents
on the allegations which are also at our disposal. Why is it taking the
anti-corruption agencies this long to determine the ownership of the
following companies?”

“On January 2, 2013, Mr. Mournir Haliru Gwarzo, was appointed an Executive
Commissioner in the Securities and Exchange Commission for a four-year
tenure by the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. Before
the end of his four-year deal, Gwarzo was promoted by same government as
the Director General of the Commission on May 22, 2015. the Director
General of SEC, Mr. Gwarzo, allegedly ordered the payment of a severance
package of the sum N104,851,154.94 (One hundred and four million, eight
hundred and fifty-one thousand, one hundred and fifty-four naira and
ninety-four kobo to himself.” Loremikan said.

The standing rule in the civil service provides that severance benefits
can only be paid to an employee who has concluded his or her service and
has completely disengaged from service and not to an employee who was
promoted within the Commission as is in the case of Mr. Gwarzo. The
comrade asked several militating questions at the conference such as: Mr.
Gwarzo should tell the anti-corruption agencies, did he pay himself a
severance package or not? Did Mr. Haliru Gwarzo award contracts to his own
companies and others with links to himself his wife and some of his
cronies using the privilege of his office or not? Can Mr. Gwarzo deny the
veracity of the incorporation records with the Corporate Affairs
Commission that the Companies said to belong to him and his cronies indeed
belong to them? Why is it taking the anti-corruption agencies this long to
determine the ownership of the following companies?

Comrade Loremikan said Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria and Nigerians
also want to know if Mr. Gwarzo, his wife and some directors of SEC are
owners of the following companies: (1.) Outbound Investment Ltd, RC NO.
807317 (2.) Medusa Investments Limited, RC NO. 326829 (3.) Northwind
Environmental Services. REG NO BN2389176 (4.) Micro-Technologies LTD RC
NO. 173805 (5.) Tida International Ltd RC NO. 26414 (6.) Outlook
Communications (7.) Acromac Nig. Ltd RC NO. 10687864 (8.) Balfort
International Investment Ltd RC NO. 109153 (9.) Interactiven Worldwide
Nigeria Ltd RC NO. 779442.

It will be recalled that Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and leading
human rights activist, Festus Keyamo, had earlier warned against recent
attempts to sweep the Gwarzo investigation under the carpet by powerful
individuals. Nigerians want the probe to ascertain whether or not Mr.
Gwarzo paid himself severance benefits of N104.8 million after his
elevation to from Executive Commissioner to DG despite not having
completed his tenure on his previous position.

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), a
non-political, non-religious, and non-profit making organization, had
petitioned President Mohammedu Buhari, on the corrupt activities in SEC
under the stewardship of Mr. Mournir Haliru Gwarzo’s.

Comrade Loremikan concluded by saying: “Considering the likelihood that a
lot more acts of impunity may have been committed unchecked under the
arrangement in which Mr. Gwarzo functioned as the Director General of the
Securities and Exchange Commission without checks from a Board, the
Campaign Against Impunity in Nigeria calls on the Finance Minister, Mrs.
Kemi Adeosun to order a thorough audit of the finances of the Commission.
We also urge the Minister to stand firm and not buckle under any pressure
by the campaign of impunity being sponsored by Mr. Gwarzo against her
person. The entire process smells of an attempt to cover impunity with
blackmail. We therefore demand that Mrs. Kemi Adeosun should make public
the report of the Administrative Panel put in place to investigate the
allegations against Mr. Gwarzo. She should also direct her office to
forward the report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the
Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).”

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