“Stolen in the dead of the night”? The drama heightens as leaked memos suggest SEC offered House committee N30m

by Lekan Olanrewaju

A memo presented before the House of Representatives on Tuesday by Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Markets, Hon. Herman Hembe, has proven that the SEC management initiated and offered the House Committee on Capital Markets the sum of N30, 000, 000.

The sum according to the memo would cover the cost of live coverage which was put at N26, 203, 800, while Secretariat needs got N412, 500, 000.

The DG of the Securities and Exchanges Commission, in a statement by one of her aides, Obi Adindu, however denied claims that the offers were an attempt at bribery.

“We note the allegation made by Hon. Hembe on the floor of the House and on live television that it was Ms. Oteh who made financial overtures to him. We wish to state unequivocally that at no time and in no place did the SEC, Ms. Oteh offer Hon. Hembe any financial inducement.

Despite Hon. Hembe’s claims even as he said he had copies of internal memos, which he purportedly obtained from the SEC, however Ms. Oteh did not issue or cause to be issued any correspondence to Hon. Hembe, which offered him financial gratification.

We confirm that the SEC received a document in respect of the public hearing with a list of items with cost implications totaling N39, 844,490.00.

The correspondences which the Director General sent to Hon. Hembe comprised a letter dated 5th March 2012 which expressed her support for the Public Hearing in line with the SEC’s role as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital markets and a cover letter for SEC’s submissions to the Public Hearing dated 12TH March 2012. She had hoped that the Hearing would offer a platform for an objective examination of the market with a view to identifying the factors militating against its full recovery. She had expected that the outcome of the Hearing would facilitate realization of the SEC’s vision of a world class capital market that constitutes the engine room for our country’s rapid socio economic growth and development.

 It is sad that a genuine act of support to the process of fair and transparent review of our capital market has been twisted into something reprehensible. We totally disagree with the claim that we tried to financially induce or influence Hon. Hembe or anyone else. It goes against everything that the Director General stands for and has been known for, internationally and locally, by those who have known her in her professional career of over 25 years,”

Meanwhile the Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market, Mr. Herma Hembe, has been asked to explain how he came to be in possession of the memo.

According to Mrs Oteh’s Communication Adviser to Oteh, Mr. Adindu, the memo was stolen in the dead of the night.

“It was on the basis of that document that the DG of SEC wrote the said memo to the board seeking its approval.

If you have the invoice, you will see staple marks on the left hand of the document. What was it that was detached? It was the one he felt not comfortable to display.

It was a two-page long list of articles required for the public hearing. It was on the basis of the two-page lengthy list for the public hearing that the memo (Oteh’s) was composed.

The memo was stolen in the dead of the night. They are very gifted at violating the Freedom of Information Act. Their modus operandi (method of obtaining the memo) shows their intentions.

That is the new standard that Hembe has brought to legislative public hearing,” he said.


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