Capital Market Probe – Oteh Accuses Committee Chair of Demanding N39 Million for Members

Appearing before the panel in Abuja

Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC), Ms Aruma Oteh, yesterday brought a new twist to the public hearing on the near total collapse of the capital market as she accused the Chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Herman Hembe, of requesting for N39million to fund the investigation.
Oteh’s allegation came a day after the Committee accused her of expending N85,000 on a day’s meal at Transcorp Hilton and violating the rules of employment in the engagement of some staff of the SEC.
The Committee on Tuesday commenced a public hearing on the declining fortunes of capital market.
However, the investigation yesterday began with a drama as Oteh turned the heat on the Chairman of the Committee.
Few minutes after she entered the hall, she raised a hand to make some complaints. Hembe granted her permission to speak.
She said the Committee was not competent to continue with the investigation of the activities of her office and the performance of capital market under her.
She hinged her opinion on the fact that the Chairman of the Capital Market Committee, Herman Hembe, allegedly requested for the sum of N39million to finance the investigation of the comatose capital market in Nigeria.
According to her, when the request was turned down, the committee chairman, a week to the commencement of the public hearing, came to her and asked for N5million since the earlier request was refused because the amount was considered high, claiming that she also turned down the request.
Oteh further alleged that it was her refusal to grant Hembe’s requests that angered him, provoking his hostility against her.
She equally alleged that Hembe had last year collected from SEC money and a business class ticket to travel to the Dominican Republic for a Conference.
She claimed that Hembe did not travel and never returned the money.
“Mr. Chairman, I question your credibility to preside over this probe. On 20th October last year, you were given a cheque to travel to Dominican Republic to attend a Conference, you need to tell Nigerians whether you attended the Conference, yet you did not return the cheque”, she said
But Hembe simply asked that representatives of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) present at the hearing to take note of the allegations, which he noted, were weighty.
“I hope the EFCC operatives are here. Strong allegations have been made against me and the committee, you should investigate the allegation”, he said .
Continuing in her allegations, the SEC boss said Hembe was unfit to preside over the investigation because he had some biases against SEC, even as she insisted that her recruitment of some staff of Access Bank staff was in order .
In view of the allegation, she reiterated that the committee was not competent to continue the public hearing on the activities of her office.
However, defending himself and members of the committee, Hembe said he is ready to give himself up for investigation, dismissing the allegations by Oteh as a diversionary tactics.
He claimed that Oteh was engaging in a blackmail so as to water down allegations against her.
Another drama ensued when the issue of accommodation of the DG was raised.
The Commissioner in charge of Legal Duties in SEC, Charles Oduaro, denied knowledge of Oteh’s eight months residence at Transcorp Hilton contrary to the 56 days allowed by the civil service and SEC laws.
Head of Finance and Administration in the organization did not deny knowledge of her stay .
He said though he was aware that the organisation was contravening the law on the number of days she was entitled to stay in a hotel, he was constrained by the fact that there was no befitting accommodation for her.
Oteh is said to have spent over N30 million as hotel rate in the last eight months she has lodged at Transcorp Hilton.
On the N66 million earmarked for payment of official residence for Oteh, he said he knew such payment was in violation of the monetization policy.



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