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FG inaugurates board of IST, to review Investment and Securities Act

By The Citizen
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The 10-member board of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) saddled with the responsibility of adjudicating capital market disputes was inaugurated in Abuja Monday by the Minister of Finance and coordinating minister of Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

The tribunal is an independent specialised judicial body established by Section 244 of the Investments and Securities Act, 1999 (now Section 247 of ISA, 2007) to interpret and adjudicate all capital market, investment and other related matters.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has said it would review the Investment and Securities Act to enable the Chairman of the Investment and Securities Tribunal to be rated at par with judges of the Federal High Court.

The Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama, disclosed this during the swearing in of Dr. Ngozi Chianakwalam as the new chairman of the IST.

Ngama said the amendment of the current Act, which would be done with the National Judicial Council, would help to restore investors' confidence in the capital market.

He said, 'We know that IST is very critical for the smooth running of the investment sector. The stock market has gone down and we will need to do a lot to give people courage, and also the confidence to actually invest, and the only way that can be done is to ensure that whenever there is any disagreement or dispute, there is place they can run to and get justice.

'This tribunal has been doing a lot and we have been encouraging it to do more. We are in the process of reviewing the Act. One particular issue is developing relationship with the National Judicial Council so that it will also have input in the amendment we are trying to do.

'The amendment is actually to ensure that when we say you are the chairperson of the tribunal and you are equivalent to the Chief Judge of a Federal High Court; then, the NJC will also be pleased with it that it is true so that when we say this year, you can also go to the Federal Court of Appeal and go to the Supreme Court and be our own Chief Justice of Nigeria.

'Right now, they are doing a good job. When you go to the Federal Court of Appeal, when you have cases involving investment and capital market operation, I doubt if you have any of the judges who had gone through IST so we can claim that we don't have a single judge who has the relevant experience. And those judges who have relevant experience can they really go to the Federal Court of Appeal?'

Ngama said if the chairman of the IST was rated at par with Federal High Court judges, it would help to guarantee their future in the judiciary as well as enrich the judicial process.

'So, we want to do this so that every judge here has a future so that they will not only be recognised by the Ministry of Finance, but by the judiciary to be truly equivalent to judges of the Federal High Court,' he added.