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Shareholders urge public officers to operate within ambits of law

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Shareholders in Nigeria’s capital market have urged public officers to operate in accordance to the law to boost investors’ confidence
The shareholders, who spoke in an interview with The Guardian on the arraignment of the suspended Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, last week Thursday, on alleged 14 counts bordering on gratification and abuse of office, added that the accused must be given the right to fair hearing.

Specifically, the President, Ibadan zone Shareholders Association, Eric Akinduro, said: “Well to me is that public officers should always be careful to play the game by the rule. He was aware of the existing rule and yet went ahead to break the rule. This is the same officer that closed down all the regional offices of SEC when we agitated the closure then they said lack of fund.”

He added: “Let us wait and see what the outcome will be. Mind you is a lesson for everyone that whatever we are doing we should always consider the position of law so that we don’t fall a victim. The outcome of the case might vindicate or implicate him.”

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The President, New Dimension Shareholders Association, Patrick Ajudua, said: “ICPC as a body is constitutionally empowered to investigate alleged corruption and it is in order to arraign suspended DG over the matter. I am against an act of corruption in whatever form and justice must be allowed to prevail while the alleged offender should be given the right to fair hearing.”

Recall that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Thursday, arraigned Gwarzo in an FCT High Court in Apo.

He was arraigned alongside a Principal Manager, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Jamila Muhammad.Gwarzo and Mrs Muhammad were arraigned before Justice Olukayode Adeniyi on 14 counts bordering on gratification and abuse of office.

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ICPC alleged that Gwarzo on or about December 28, 2016, while serving as SEC DG, knowingly held a private interest as a director and shareholder of Outbound Investment Limited, a company which was awarded a contract to supply and install 12 units of air conditioners.

The anti-graft agency alleged that four units of refrigerators at SEC Lagos Zonal Office were bought by SEC for N3.4million contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000.

ICPC also alleged among others, used his position as SEC DG to gratify himself when Outbound Investment Limited was awarded the contract to supply and install 12 units of air conditioners and four units of refrigerators at SEC Lagos Zonal office by the Commission, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

The ICPC alleged that Mrs Muhammad, on/about November 15, 2015, while being a public officer used her position as Principal Manager at NIMC to gratify herself.

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ICPC alleged that when Outlook Communications Limited, where she was a shareholder and director was awarded a contract to air a 60-minute awareness campaign radio jingles on e-dividend in the North-East region for the sum of N798million, contrary to and punishable under Section 19 of the ICPC Act.

She was further alleged to have knowingly and directly held a private interest as a shareholder and director of Outlook Communications Limited, which was awarded a contract to air a 60-minute awareness campaign radio jingles on e-dividend in the North-Central states for the sum of N1.3million by SEC, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12 of Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Act, 2000.

Both defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them in court. Omokayode Dada, Counsel for Gwarzo, however, moved the motion for his bail, and urged the court to grant the first defendant bail.

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ICPCMounir GwarzoSEC
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