The Administrative Panel of Inquiry into the litany of allegations of financial impropriety against the suspended former Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir Gwarzo has recommended his dismissal from Public Service.
A source in the Presidency told our reporter that the Panel also recommended that the embattled SEC Director-General be referred to the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for further investigation of the allegation of using his position to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited, where he has interest.
The report of the API headed by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mahmoud Isa-Dutse was showed to our reporter under confidence yesterday.
The Panel, in the report which has been submitted to the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, directed Gwarzo to refund the sum of N104,851,154.94, being the severance package he allegedly approved and received while in office.
It noted that the holding of the position of the director-general of SEC as well as a director in two private companies (Medusa Investment Limited and Outbound Investments Limited) was in breach of public service rule 030424, public service rule 030402 and Section 6 of the Investment and Securities Act, ISA 2007.
Among other stiff recommendations, the Isa-Dutse-led Panel said: Mr. Mounir Gwarzo should be referred to the ICPC for further investigation of the allegation of using his position as Director-General to influence the award of contracts to Outbound Investments Limited in view of the provisions of Sections 57 (12) (b) and 58 (5) of the Public Procurement Act, 2007.
“Gwarzo should be dismissed from the Public Service of the Federal Government, in line with PSR 030402 (in relation to the allegation on Golden Handshake), having breached paragraphs 313 and 316(4) of the Financial Regulations (Government Notice No. 219 of 27th October, 2009)(engaging in extra budgetary expenditure without appropriate approval),” it said.
The panel said Mounir “should be discharged on the allegations of award of contracts to Medusa Investments Limited; award of contracts to other companies as mentioned in paragraph 5.1.1 and to which no relationship with Mr. Mounir H. Gwarzo was sufficiently established.”
On the other hand, the Panel recommended that the cases of two management officers of the Commission – Mrs. Anastasia Omozele Braimoh and Mr. Abdulsalam Naif H. be referred to SEC for appropriate disciplinary action in line with the provisions of the Staff Manual of SEC.
The Panel advised the Federal Government to re-orientate public servants to the very fact that the Public Service Rules and Financial Regulations are ground norms of every Government Service Contract, be it at the Federal, State or Local Government levels.
It added, “Accordingly, all Government Extra-Ministerial Departments and Agencies should be made to understand that the PSR and FR are superior to whatever specific legislations and domestic arrangements that guide their operations, except when such issues were not covered by any provision of the PSR.”
Mr. Mounir was suspended by the Minister of finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun last year for involving himself in various financial misconducts and abuse of office.
Investigations into his alleged misdeeds revealed that only four days after receiving his appointment letter, May 26, 2015, Mr. Mounir allegedly requested that he be paid the sum of N104.8 million as severance package in respect of the end of his appointment as Executive Commissioner, a position he occupied for two years and four months.
The request, made via a memo dated May 26, 2015, was referred to Mrs. Chukwuogor Frana, acting Head of the commission’s Legal Department at the time, for consideration and advice. However, responding in a memo dated May 27 2015, Mrs Chukwuogor advised against honoring the request made by the then DG, arguing that the fact that he remains in the employ of SEC disentitles him to a severance package.
Citing an extract of the SEC Board meeting held on July 11 2002, Mr. Gwarzo had argued that he was entitled to a severance package. While offering advice matter, Chukwuogor wrote: “The extract, however, does not contain the term ‘severance benefits.’ Therefore, to give an opinion on this matter, it is impossible to determine the purpose and scope/application of this extract.”
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