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Ex-SEC DG’s alleged N115m scam: Court fixes Tuesday to rule on no-case submission

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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An FCT High Court on Friday is to deliver ruling on Tuesday in the no- case- submission filed by the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Dr Mounir Gwarzo on alleged of N115 fraud.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, charged Mr Gwarzo alongside an Executive Commissioner in the Commission, Zakawanu Garuba, with five counts of alleged misappropriation to the tune of about N115 million and conferment of corrupt advantage on a public officer before Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf.

They however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The defendants, on February 7, through their counsel, Abdulhakeem Mustapha, SAN, and Robert Emupkoeruo, informed the court of their intention to file no-case submission.

This they prayed after the prosecuting counsel, Mr 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.

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Mr Gwarzo’s counsel, Mustapha SAN, on March 18 urged the court to hold that the prosecution has not been able to adduce any credible evidence to make the defendant enter any defence.

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He informed the court that the no-case submission he prayed for was brought pursuant to Sections 302 and 303 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015.

According to him, the prosecution had failed to make out any prima facie case against Gwarzo, adding that the evidence adduced were all contradictory.

He submitted that the prosecution in its written address on the submission relied on the law on certain political office holders and admitted that SEC was not mentioned in the said law.

Specifically, he urged the court to uphold the no-case submission by the first defendant as well as discharge and acquit him of the charge against him.

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Counsel to Garuba, Robert Emukpoeruo, also argued that the prosecution had failed from the evidence adduced to make any prima facie case against the second defendant.

He said the evidence adduced by the prosecution during hearing has not established any ingredients of the offence said to have been committed by Garuba.

He, then, urged the court not only to uphold the no-case submission but also discharge and acquit the second defendant.

In his submission, the prosecution counsel, Raheem Adesina, urged the court to dismiss the no-case- submission of the defendants and ask them to enter their defence.

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Mr Adesina stated that there was the need for the defendants to explain to the court where they got the severance package from, since there was nowhere in Exhibit ICPC 3, before the court where severance package was mentioned.

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He argued that there was no single word of severance benefit in the SEC Board resolution in July, 2002 (Exhibit ICPC 3).

He said that what was approved and collected was severance benefit when the first defendant never retired from SEC.

The ICPC accused Mr Gwarzo of committing fraud to the tune of about N115 million 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.

Mr Garuba, on the other hand, was accused by ICPC of allegedly conniving with Gwarzo to commit the fraud.

NAN

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