SEC boss accuses lawmakers probing her of demanding N39 million bribe

Channels Television  
Updated March 15, 2012

Another drama ensued on Thursday at the House of Representative Committee on Capital Market and other Financial Institution’s public hearing on capital market as the Director General (DG) of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Oteh Arunma accuses the Chairman of the House of Rep Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe of demanding bribe from her.

Ms Arunma said that the Committee Chairman had demanded a bribe of N39 million from SEC for the ongoing hearing.

She further accused Mr Hembe of demanding N5million from the commission to enable him travel to the Dominican Republic to attend an Emerging market conference without embarking on the journey.

The DG made these accusations in response to the claims by the Committee that she has mismanaged the affairs of the commission and the committee was out to tarnish her intergrity.

She questioned the credibility of the Chairman of the committee  in conducting the probe, considering her allegations.

In his response, Mr Hembe noted all the allegations listed by the SEC and subjected himself and the committee to another probe which he ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take up.

Ms Arunnma described the probe as a ‘Kangaroo court’, and likened the probe to an era of former Uganda leader, Idi Amin, saying “not even during the Idi Amin regime, did we have this kind of session.”

The visibly angry former Vice-President of the Agriculture Development Bank, who was questioned about her competence to preside over the SEC, the day before, brought all her credentials and narrated her career path to the sitting. She demanded an explanation why the committee chairman questioned her integrity despite her screening by the Senate.

She stated that she was warned before her appointment, over two years ago, that “corruption will fight back at me.”

Illegal purchaes

The Chairman of the House of Rep Committee on Capital Market also questioned the Legal Commissioner and the Director of Finance on the rational of buying three Toyota Hilux vehicles for N32 million without following the procurement act of passing the resolution to buy the vehicles through the proper tenders’ board.

The Executive Commissioner Legal and Enforcement, Charles Udora confirmed that a memo to buy the vehicle was raised but that he refused to sign it.

He said he did not sign the tender bid to buy the vehicle because he did not attend the tenders’ board meeting where the purchase of the vehicle was resolved, “and as the most senior lawyer in the commission, I cannot sign the memo.”

The commission’s Finance Director said though he did not attend the tenders’ board meeting, he signed the memo assuming that the meeting held as a ‘virtual meeting’.

The committee resolved that the tender board meeting never held and that the memo was passed around for people to sign.

Mr Hembe said though the public procurement acts categorically states that the Secretary of the tenders’ board must be the director of the procurement department or someone from the department nominated by the director, in SEC the Secretary is a staff from the tenders’ board secretariat.

SEC paid N62 million as rent for DG

The committee asked the management of the commission to explain a memo that was issued by the Technical adviser to the DG, Franca Chukwuogu to the Head of Administration.

In the Memo (CADEO) dated 26/01/2011 Ms Chukwuogu had demanded through the head of Administration that the commission pay the rent for a five bedroom bungalow as the official rent for the DG.

Another Memo from the Head of Administration, Bello Ibrahim showed that the rent for the five bedroom apartment at Maitama district of Abuja cost the commission over N62 million.

The Committee asked the management of the commission to explain why it paid the rent of the DG despite the enactment of the monetisation policy by the Federal government.

Furthermore, the committee questioned the rational of the commission for paying the bill of the DG who on appointment stayed at the Hilton Hotel for eight months instead of the 28 days recommended by civil service rule.

The committee also accused the management of SEC of abandoning its own training institute – The Nigeria Capital Market Institute (NCMI) while dishing out training contracts to private consulting firms.

It took the intervention of the Chief Whip of the House of Representative, Mukthar Mohammed, who was present at the hearing, to calm the exchange of words between the committee’s Chairman and the SEC boss.

Mr Hembe adjourned further hearing on the matter to next Tuesday.