by Isi Esene
The former Director General, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunmah Oteh, created a stir yesterday by appearing uninvited at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the Economic Management Team (EMT) meeting.
With her suspension from office, Oteh’s membership of the EMT should have ceased automatically, giving way to her successor. It is not clear the basis upon which she attended the meeting, particularly as her successor, Ibrahim Bello, has since resumed office as acting Director General.
Oteh, who arrived the venue of the meeting at about 1.30pm, went straight to the seat reserved for the SEC boss. No sooner had she settled into the seat than a female protocol official walked up to her, apparently to why she’s there. After a brief discussion in barely audible tones, the suspended former DG got up and was escorted out of the Council chambers by the protocol official, as both of them headed in the direction of the President’s Office.
She however returned a little bit later to consult briefly with the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. They both returned to the President’s office apparently to seek further clarifications. She however came back to resume her seat as President Goodluck Jonathan arrived to actually start the meeting.
The Finance Minister later justified the former DG’s presence saying she can attend the meeting because she is only on leave. According to her, the leave is to allow for a fair and open investigation but it does not stop her from participating in one or two meetings affecting the economy.
“I think we should allow the report of the investigation to be concluded and it will be out soon,” she admonished. “She has not been indicted and so it does not stop her from attending meetings.”
The general confusion stems from the fact that the incident suggests that the SEC has two DGs presently.