Justice Baba Yusuf of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja on Tuesday granted bail of N25m each to the suspended Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, and a SEC Commissioner, Zakawanu Garuba.
Both Gwarzo and Garuba, were arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a 5 count charge of corruption and criminal breach of trust.
While Gwarzo is being accused of using his position as DG to defraud the commission of the sum of over N104million, Garuba was accused of approving the said illegal act.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges read against them and their counsel prayed the court to move their bail application.
Counsel to the first defendant, A.U Mustapha SAN, informed the court of Gwarzo’s application which he stated was filed on May 30, 2018 and urged the court to grant his client bail.
He assured the court that Gwarzo would not jump bail and would be available to face his trial.
Mustapha also informed the court that the defendants awee already on administrative bail and urged the court to consider the conditions of their administrative bail in granting their applications.
On his part, counsel to the ICPC Henry Emore, who confirmed that the defendants were on administrative bail, said he was not opposed to the application, adding that the offences according to the ICPC Act are bail able.
Delivering ruling on the applications, the court held that the offence were bailable and consequently granted them bail in the sum of N25m each with two sureties in like sum.
He held that the sureties must be civil servants working with the federal government and not below the rank of a Deputy Director.
They should in addition possess landed properties in Abuja.
The defendants are to submit their passports and can approach the court if the need arises.
In the charge with suit no CR/185/18, the ICPC accused Gwarzo of committing the fraud in June 2015.
The anti-graft agency said Gwarzo received over N104million as severance benefit less than a month after his appointment.
The suspended SEC boss was also accused of receiving over N10m as a ‘car grant’ contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
While the first three counts were on Gwarzo, the fourth and fifth counts were on Garuba.
One of the charges read, “That you, Mounir Gwarzo, on or about June 2015, while being the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, received the sum of N104,851,154.94 as severance benefits when you had yet to retire, resign or disengage from the service of SEC; conferred a corrupt advantage upon yourself and committed an offence under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.
“That you committed a criminal breach of trust to wit: dishonestly misappropriated the sum of N104,851,154.94 as your severance benefit contrary to Section 311 and punishable under Section 312 of the Penal Code Cap 532 Vol 4 of FCT Abuja 2007.
“That you conferred a corrupt advantage upon yourself when you received the sum of N10,983,488.88 in excess of car grant payable to you and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act.”