SEC bribery scandal: EFCC summons Hon. Hembe for questioning

Channels Television  
Updated March 23, 2012

House of Representatives’ member and former chairman of the House Committee on the Capital Market, Herman Hembe, reportedly appeared before the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday to face questioning over allegations that he had requested N44 million in bribe from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of a probe investigating the commission’s role in the Capital Market crash.

Arunma Oteh, SEC DG (L) and Hon. Herman Hembe (R)

Hon. Hembe, who was reportedly still with the EFCC as of 3 p.m. this afternoon, was chairing a public hearing during the probe when the SEC boss Ms Arunma Oteh accused him of demanding money from her to the tune of N39 million at first, and another N5 million a week before the hearing commenced.

The shocking allegations led to Hembe’s withdrawal as chairman of the Committee. He maintained his innocence, even accusing the SEC of offering him N30 million in bribes, but also welcomed the investigation of the EFCC in a bid to clean up his sullied reputation.

Sources were unable to confirm if SEC DG Oteh, who is also embroiled in the bribery scandal, answered summons for questioning.

The House had indicated earlier this week, that Oteh will face questioning after internal SEC memos leaked to the press showed that the Commission had offered to “assist” the proceedings by donating N30 million to the Committee.

Oteh, whose credibility and competence were questioned during the public hearings, had fought right back, questioning Hembe’s credibility in turn and accusing the lawmaker of collecting estacode from the Commission for an emerging markets conference in the Dominican Republic, which he never attended.

The SEC further refuted allegations that the Commision had attempted to bribe the Committee. Following the cross-fire of accusations and counter-accusations, the House of Representatives set up an ad-hoc committee to continue the probe under different leadership.