The feud between the House of Representatives and the Presidency over the non-allocation to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the 2013 budget appears to be deepening as the lawmakers have written to the President, asking that funds must not be released to the commission in any guise.
The federal lawmakers demanded that no fund must be released to the regulatory agency of the Nigerian capital market unless the National Assembly approves it. They also warned SEC not to spend funds that it generates internally or externally without authorisation from the lawmakers.
The letter dated 27th March, 2013, which was addressed to the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emphasised that President Goodluck Jonathan should not fund the operations of SEC either from public coffers or even private sources.
The Secretary to the federal government and the board of SEC were also sent copies of the letter.
Part of the letter made available to Channels Television reads: “You will recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission had submitted its budgetary proposals for 2013 to the house. You will also recall that no approval was passed back to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“Further to this and most importantly, the National Assembly has vide the 2013 Appropriation Act, item 9, Part E, Clause 10 stated thus: all revenue however described including all fees received, fines, grants, budgetary provisions and all internally and externally generated revenue shall not be spent by the Securities and Exchange Commission for recurrent or capital purposes or for any other matters, nor liabilities thereon incurred except with prior appropriation and approval by the National Assembly.
The House further states: “The net effect of the National Assembly’s resolution Item 9 Part E Clause 10 of 2013 Appropriation Act; it is ultra vires any authority or person (Mr. President inclusive) to finance the operations of Securities and Exchange Commission from public coffers or even private sources.”
The letter advised SEC to refrain from making any expenditure until a budget has been approved by the National Assembly and not to source and spend any monies whatsoever as this will be a clear infringement of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and shall be viewed as such.
Following investigations into the near total collapse of the capital market, the House of Representatives in 2012, passed a resolution mandating President Jonathan to remove Ms Oteh from office for not possessing the requisite professional qualification prescribed in the Securities and Exchange Commission Act for appointment to the office of director-general.
So far, the resolution has not been honoured even as Presidency spokespersons have described the resolution as advisory and not incumbent upon the President to implement.
The embattled SEC DG, who was sent on compulsory leave by SEC’s board, was recalled by the Presidency after she was acquitted of allegations of financial misappropriation and disharmony in the Commission.
Ms Oteh resumed weeks later despite protest by the commission’s workers.