by Lekan Olanrewaju
The saga continues, as the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Other Financial Institutions, Herman Hembe, has stepped down from his role as head of the ongoing probe of the sector.
Hembe resigned from the probe following allegations by Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arunma Oteh of conflict of interest and bias.
Oteh had on Thursday, at the public hearing organised by the committee accused Hembe of being out to tarnish her reputation as well as demanding a bribe of N39 million from SEC for the hearing. She also accused Hembe of receiving N5 million from the commission to enable him to travel to the Dominican Republic for a conference which he eventually did not attend.
Hembe, however, on Tuesday at the House of Represenatatives said he neither demanded nor took any bribe from the SEC DG, “but rather fought hard to resist any such temptation.”
Oteh had been accused of spending huge funds belonging to the SEC on personal issues. She was accused of spending N30 million during her eight-month stay at the Hilton hotel, Abuja and N850,000 on a single day on food as well as compromising her office by engaging two employees of Access Bank Plc. on secondment to her office which according to Hembe led to a situation which placed a firm that should be under SEC’s watch at an unfair advantage.
Meanwhile, a new memo released seems to show that the former DG wrote to the House of Reps, offering to sponsor the hearing against herself. Also, one of the alleged receipts from the Transcorp Hilton hotel where she was accused of overspending on food has been released.
According to the bill, the breakfast meeting she said she had with foreign investors involved her treating them to several bottles of beer and such delicacies as “classical snails”.