Home Business ICPC witness admits payment of car grant to suspended SEC DG Gwarzo 

ICPC witness admits payment of car grant to suspended SEC DG Gwarzo 

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Gwarzo at a press meeting with other SEC staff

In the ongoing trial of suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Dr. Mounir Haliru Gwarzo, a witness called by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Mr. Ajao Akintade Stephen, who is a senior manager in SEC, has admitted before the court that he facilitated the payment of N84,388, 886.12 to Dr. Gwarzo as monetized car grant.

The prosecution witness made this revelation before Justice Hassan Yusuf Baba of High Court 4, Maitama.

Mr. Ajao was led in evidence via examination-in-chief by ICPC counsel, Adeshina Raheem, and cross-examined by counsel to the 1st defendant, A. U. Mustapha, SAN and counsel to the 2nd defendant, C. I. Imukpoeruo.

The witness revealed that on 1st June, 2015 he had made computation for the car grant which the then Director-General was entitled to as it was a policy in SEC for DGs to have non-refundable monetized car grant for 4 cars which should be awarded based on the existing market value of the cars.

He went on to explain that his computation which came to N73, 405, 297.12 was sent back and he was made to come up with another amount of N84, 388, 886. 88.

Therefore, the difference in the first computation and the second computation was N10, 983, 589. 76 which was the amount the 2nd defendant, Zakawanu Garuba, approved for payment.

It should be recalled that Dr. Gwarzo is standing trial for allegedly misappropriating N115.8 million, while Mr. Zakawanu Garuba who is also standing trial with the former DG is accused of approving a N10.9 million car grant.

The matter has been adjourned to 20th and 21st September, 2018 to enable ICPC present more witnesses.

Meanwhile, a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Jabi, Abuja, has sentenced a civil servant in the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), James Ayodele Lebi, to two years imprisonment for using a fake Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) certificate to gain promotion in his office.

Justice Y. Halilu also imposed a N100, 000 fine on the convict, who will spend his jail term in prison in Keffi, Nasarawa State, following the conclusion of a case brought against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

ICPC, in a one-count charge, had told the court that the convict had approached the Director of Admin and Human Resources in AuGF, with a fake ICAN certificate requesting that he be converted and upgraded from the position of an Executive Officer to that of a Senior Auditor.

The Commission told the court that his action was contrary to Section 25 (1) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under the same section.

The judge, while passing the judgment, said that the convict deserved to be sentenced accordingly as punishment, as well as deterrence to others from committing the same crime.

He called on the federal government to ensure strict vetting of its workers to prevent those with fake certificates from hiding in the system.

His words: “The accused knew well that he never had ICAN certificate but produced the fake certificate and got elevated from an Executive Officer to a Senior Auditor in a country such as ours where securing government employment is so difficult.

‘Government should scrutinize all employees on its payroll to ensure that people like the convict do not take advantage of the system because the convict would have risen to the prestigious position of AGF if he had not been caught.”