By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A bench warrant for the arrest of the second defendant in the case involving the former Director-General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Mounir Gwarzo, has been issued by Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The second suspect in the matter, Ms Jamila Ahmad Muhammed, a Principal Manager with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), is to be apprehended by security operatives for failure to appear in court over allegations of corruption.
Mr Gwarzo is being prosecuted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over their complicity in N12.8 million contract scam.
A statement issued by the ICPC on Sunday night stated that the former SEC boss is facing a 6-count charge bordering on abuse of office for awarding several contracts to Outbound Investment Limited, a private company where he doubled as a Director even while he was director general of the agency.
On her own part, Ms Muhammed, as director of Outlook Communication Limited, is facing an 8-count charge of gratification and abuse of office for running a private company while in the employment of the federal government, as her company was awarded contracts to the tune of N4.4 million by SEC.
According to ICPC, their actions were contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and punishable under the same sections.
Details from the charge sheet revealed that the former SEC boss, between December 2016 and March 2017, allegedly awarded contracts for the supply of 12 units of air-conditioners, 16, 000 litres of diesel and four units of refrigerators at the total cost of about N8.5 million to his own company.
The air-conditioners and refrigerators were to be supplied to the Lagos Zonal office of SEC at the cost of N3.5 million, while about a total of N5.0 million was allegedly awarded for the supply of diesel to the headquarters on two occasions in February and March, 2017 respectively.
Ms Muhammed’s offences, according to the charge sheet, included allegedly receiving N4.4 million contracts through her company, for the production of radio jingles on E-Dividend for broadcast in the three northern zones of the country, including N1.1 million for the production of the same jingles in Hausa and Pidgin languages.
The arraignment of both accused persons was slated for Tuesday February 18, 2020 before Justice O. A. Adeniyi, but for the absence of Ms Muhammed, who was said to be sick and on admission at the National Hospital, Abuja.
Her counsel, S. M. Yusuf, told the court, “The second defendant is sick. I confirmed from people close to her that she is in National Hospital.”
The counsel to ICPC, George Lawal, while responding to the argument prayed the court to issue a bench warrant on the accused maintaining that there was no medical report to back the claim of ill-health by her counsel.
Justice Adeniyi, after listening to both counsel, ruled that Ms Muhammed should be arrested immediately and kept in ICPC custody. He then adjourned the matter to March 5, 2020.
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