SEC denies offering Hembe N30 million Bribe

Channels Television  
Updated March 21, 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday denied allegations that it offered bribe to the Chairman of the House of Representative Committee on Capital Market and other financial institution, Herman Hembe and the committee that was conducting an investigative public hearing on the capital market.

Mr Hembe while resigning as the Chairman of the House committee conducting an investigative public hearing on the capital market told his colleagues that it was SEC that tried to bribe him and members of his committee.

“I made no attempt to collect any bribe, rather I worked hard to avoid the offer of such by the SEC DG,” he said.

The Lawmaker was forced to resign after the Director General of SEC, Arunma Oteh publicly accused him of demanding N39 million bribe from the commission among other financial abuse of his office.

Mr Hembe while delivering his resignation speech claimed he had documents he alleged were internal memos from the commission which indicates that SEC offered N30 million to him and his committee.

The memo showed that the Director General of SEC, Arunma Oteh had asked the management to consider paying for two items in the budget of the Committee. These items, according to the memo, were the live coverage of the three weeks public hearing which was budgeted at about N26 million and the needs of the committee’s secretariat which would cost about N4 million.

Responding to Mr Hembe’s accusation, SEC on its official website published a statement which was signed by the commission’s spokesperson, Obi Adindu denying the claims of the lawmaker.

“We note the allegation made by Hon. Hembe on the floor of the House and on live television that it was Ms. Oteh who made financial overtures to him,” the statement reads.

“We wish to state unequivocally that at no time and in no place did the SEC, Ms. Oteh offer Hon. Hembe any financial inducement.

Despite Hon. Hembe’s claims even as he said he had copies of internal memos which he purportedly obtained from the SEC, however Ms. Oteh did not issue or cause to be issued any correspondence to Hon. Hembe which offered him financial gratification.

We confirm that the SEC received a document in respect of the public hearing with a list of items with cost implications totalling N39, 844,490.00,” the statement said.

The statement said that Ms Oteh sent only two letters to Mr Hembe before the public hearing.

Watch a comprehensive background report on the drama which led to the resignation of Mr Hembe and the accusations and counter accusation between the lawmaker and SEC boss.

In the first letter the DG “expressed her support for the Public Hearing in line with the SEC’s role as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital markets,” while the second letter according to the statement was the cover letter for SEC’s submissions to the Public Hearing dated 12TH March 2012.
SEC said “we totally disagree with the claim that we tried to financially induce or influence Hon. Hembe or anyone else.”