House Directs Julius Berger to Pay N422m Debt to MFB

  • Group alleges abuse of office against SEC DG
  • Says Gwarzo received several package in service

James Emejo in Abuja

The House of Representatives has adopted the report of its Committee on Public Petition, chaired led by Hon. Nkem Uzoma Abonta, directing construction giant, Julius Berger Plc to obey a court order which mandated it to pay the sum of N422.4 million debt to Toki Rainbow Microfinance Bank.

Already, the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, has communicated the lawmakers’ position to the management of the construction company.

The Chairman, Toki Rainbow MFB, Mr. Richard Samuel, had in a petition to the House, dated March 3, 2017, claimed that the bank had advanced the loan facility to the construction firm in March 1997 for the purpose of working capital financing.
He said contrary to the terms of the loan agreement, Julius Berger refused to offset its obligation to the financial institution.

He said: “Consequently, the matter was taken before the High Court in Rivers State where a judgment was delivered in our favour on the 2nd of December, 2003 asking Julius Berger to settle their debt to us.

“They appealed the judgment at the Court of Appeal where judgment was delivered in our favour on June 30, 2007.”
Meanwhile, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has petitioned the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara over an alleged corruption and abuse of office by the Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr. Mounir Gwarzo.

He is accused for among other things, of ordering the payment of N104.85 million severance package for himself after he was elevated to the position of Director General of the commission on May 2015 from Executive Commissioner.

Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said Gwarzo’s action was in total disregard of standing rule in the civil service which stipulates that severance benefit can only be paid to an employee who has concluded his or her service and has completely disengaged from service and not to an employee who has been promoted within the commission as in the case of the incumbent DG.

The petition, dated November 14 further called for investigations into Gwarzo’s alleged illegal wealth creation from the commission.

Adeniran, who also addressed journalists over the allegations, said the group believes that the personal interest of the SEC boss in some identified companies contravened the provisions of the Nigerian law which distinctively prohibits public officers from putting themselves in situations where their personal interest conflicts with their public duties.

Some of the companies listed to have links with Gwarzo include Outbound Investment Limited; Medusa Investments Limited; Northwind Environmental Services; Micro-Technologies Ltd; Tidia International Ltd; Outlook Communications; Acromac Nig Ltd; Balfort International Investment Ltd and Interactiven Worldwide Nig Ltd.

He said: “It is in view of these noted discrepancies that we urge you to institute a committee to beam searchlights on the activities of Mr Mounir Haliru Gwarzo as the Director General of SEC.”

He said the petition was written to report the penetration of willful misconduct and criminal activity by Gwarzo in public interest.

He rejected suggestions that the group may have been influenced to embark on a witch-hunt of the DG, arguing that it had previously submitted petitions against the likes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former House Speaker, Hon. Oladimeji Bankole.