Senate To investigate SEC, NSE Over Capital Market Crises

Source: EMMA UCHE -

ABUJA, Senate Committee on Capital Market today announced that it would invoke its relevant constitutional powers to commence immediate probe of the activities of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), which led to the sack of the former Director-General of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke.

The panel also said it will investigate the merger of quoted companies and unquoted companies approved by the Interim Administrator of NSE, Emmanuel Ikhazoboh and his sack of 95 workers of the SEC, two weeks after he resumed as Interim Administrator.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ganiyu Solomon made the announcement during an interactive session with SEC management team led by Arunma Oteh, just as he summoned Ikhazoboh to appear before the committee within 24 hours or have a warrant of arrest issued on him.

Oteh told the committee that she is not under obligation to append her signature on the report sent to the committee, just as she denied knowledge of the displeasure expressed by the committee to the NSE letter.

Members of the committee including Aloysius Etok and Suleiman Adokwe also expressed displeasure against the failure of the SEC boss to produce report of the terms of reference given to the Interim Administrator and the exit plan as well as plans towards the appointment of a new NSE Director General.

The chairman snapped at Oteh's objection to the presence of the press at the meeting noting, "You operate on the pages of the newspapers, that is the way you operate and there are series of issues which now makes it very important that we have this meeting; you are talking about the press, but it's about the Nigerian investors, the first time you came we told you that we refrained from commenting on that particular view because that the capital market is information driven and any negative utterance has the capacity of affecting the capital market. You don't take that liberty for granted.

“We've heard about merger; the interim administrator in less than a month sacked one-third of the workforce. Even at that, give me the terms of reference to know whether it was part of the mandate given to him, those people he sent off are Nigerians.

“Already, we have a petition in that regard, we must investigate it. We have series of petitions about offer for sale and due diligence, we must know and we want to know, that is why we are put in this particular committee. If deliberately you are not giving us the report four months after, and you said we should mind what is happening in the capital market; anyway, right now we have to conduct full investigation on the issue of the capital market," Ganiyu added.

On his part, Aloysius Etok said: "The DG is impressed to talk to the press more than talking to us. We in the Senate and different committees have mode of operations that regulate your conduct. Are we are in the position to let you know if we brought the press?

"As a regulatory agency, when you get to where you are regulating, you exercise that authority but to sit before me and behave the way you did, what right do you have to determine the mode of operation of the committee? Instead of tackling the problem, you are talking of the press."

In her response to various issues raised by the committee members, Oteh argued that she was not under any obligation to append her signature on the report since she had signed on the cover letter.

She explained that she has issued a press release on the operations of the commission, just as she challenged the chairman of the committee to explain the misunderstanding he has with the Commission.

Oteh in the unsigned report noted that the Exchange is looking to hire a new CEO and three Executive Directors and that it had engaged the international consulting company, Accenture to assist the Exchange with executive selection process.

The report confirmed that 32.5 percent of the Exchange's staff strength members were disengaged following the council's directive and that Aluko & Oyebode, a Lagos based law firm and KPMG, a consulting firm are conducting an investigation into several matters at the Exchange, including financial management, governance and malfeasance adding that the reports on the investigation are being finalized.