“Incompetence, failure, lack of transparency”: House of Reps rejects Oteh’s recall

by Isi Esene

Arunma Oteh and her reinstatement as the director-general of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) appears to have set the the House of Representatives and the Executive arm of government on a collision course.

The House has rejected the re-call of Oteh by the Federal Government, and insists that she be removed from office.

Oteh, who was suspended by the board of the commission last month, was reinstated by President Goodluck Jonathan through a letter signed by the secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim.

In the letter, the Federal Government mentioned the recommendations of the external auditors, PriceWaterhouseCoopers Ltd., which absolved Oteh of financial impropriety but indicted her on her administrative lapses, an offense which is considered minor.

A committee set up by the House had however submitted its report which is at variance with that of the external auditors. In its report, the House indicted the SEC boss and accused her of fraud, incompetence, and gross misconduct in her management of the commission.

The House, through a majority vote, affirmed the committee’s proposal, and directed that its decision be served on the Executive arm, and be implemented by the Federal Government, a directive which the Executive arm does not have to obey.

In buttressing its argument, the House of Representative members faulted Oteh’s initial appointment, describing it as illegal. The members claim her appointment contravenes the provision of sections 3, 38, and 31 of the Investment and Security Act, 2007, which requires the head of the SEC to put in 15 years’ experience in the Nigerian capital market before being considered.

According to the Premium Times, the SEC boss had no previous experience in the Nigerian market prior to her appointment as SEC boss.

In the 19th recommendation approved by the House reads: “She has shown incompetence in the management of human and material resources at her disposal… lack of transparency in managing project 50; regulatory failure in some of the recent mergers, acquisitions and approvals of transactions… general inability to carry along her staff, board, and management in decision making; and questionable staff recruitment policies.”

The recommendation concluded by ordering an EFCC investigation into the loss of N8bn from the Union Bank Plc. public offer which was blamed on Oteh and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCOM) chief, Mustafa Chike-Obi.

Critics of the report have absolved Arunma Oteh from blame on the Union Bank loss claiming it occurred 5 years before she assumed office in 2010.

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