by Lekan Olanrewaju
Just as news of her tearful display at the House of Representative Committee during the public hearing of the Capital Market and other Financial Institutions hit the airwaves, the woman once referred to by the BBC as ‘The Iron Lady’ took part in another dramatic display yesterday 15 March.
This time, the Director General (DG) of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Oteh Arunma accused the Chairman of the House of Rep Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe of demanding bribes from her. According to her, Hembe demanded N5million from the commission to enable him travel to the Dominican Republic to attend an emerging market conference without embarking on the journey.
She also accused him of demanding a bribe of N39 million from SEC for the hearing.
Oteh Arunma made these alegations in response to accusations by the Committee that she has mismanaged the affairs of the commission.
She was accused of spending as much as N30 million on hotel bills accommodation in eight months and N85,000 on meals on another day.
However, she questioned the credibility of the Chairman of the committee in conducting the probe, and insisted that the committee was simply out to tarnish her image.
The Chairman in his response, noted all the allegations listed by the SEC and subjected himself and the committee to another probe which he ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take up.
“Not even in Idi Amin time did we have such a kangaroo court,” she said about the probe, visibly angry.
It took the intervention of the Chief Whip of the House of Representative, Mukthar Mohammed, who was present at the hearing, to calm the exchange of words between the committee’s Chairman and the SEC boss. She had been questioned about her competence to preside over the SEC and the day before brought all her credentials and narrated her career path to the sitting. She demanded an explanation why the committee chairman questioned her integrity despite her screening by the Senate, stating that she had been “warned” that “corruption will fight back”
The hearing was adjourned till next Tuesday.