A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama has scheduled ruling for April 12 to determine whether or not to uphold the no-case submission made by suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo and an Executive Commissioner in the agency, Zakawanu Garuba.
Gwarzo and Garuba are being tried on an amended five-count charge filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
They are accused of misappropriating public funds estimated at N115million and conferring corrupt advantage on a public officer.
The defendants resorted to making a no-case submission at the conclusion of the prosecution’s case.
Lawyers to the defendants, Abdulhakem Mustapha (SAN) and Robert Emukpoeruo, as well as prosecution lawyer, Raheem Adesina, adopted their written submissions on Monday, following which the trial judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf fixed April 12 for ruling.
Mustapha (for Gwarzo) urged the court to uphold his client’s no-case submission and hold that the prosecution has failed to lead sufficient evidence to warrant requiring the 1st defendant to enter a defence.
He said the no-case submission was brought under sections 302 and 303 of the Administration if Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
Mustapha argued that the prosecution failed to make out any prima facie case against his client. He added that the evidence adduced were all contradictory.
He noted that the prosecution, in its written address in opposition to the submission, relied on the law on certain political office holders, but admitted that SEC was not listed in the law.
Mustapha urged the court to dismiss the charge, and discharge and acquit the 1st defendant.
Emukpoeruo (for Garuba), argued in similar vein and urged the court to discharge and acquit his client.
In his counter-submission, Adesina urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ no-case submissions and order them to enter their defence.
Adesina argued that there was the need for the defendants to explain to the court where they get the severance package from since there was nowhere in Exhibit ICPC 3 before the court where severance package was mention.
According to him, there was no single word of severance benefit in the SEC Board resolution if July, 2002 (Exhibit ICPC 3), adding that what was approved and collected was severance benefit when the first defendant never retired from SEC.
Earlier, Adesina informed the court about an amendment to the charge, following which the defendants took fresh plea and pleaded not guilty.
Author: Eric Ikhilae, Abuja