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DG SEC a.k.a 'Financial Squander mania' Accuses Lawmakers of Bribe

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Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh has accused the House of Representatives of seeking bribe to the tune of N44 million from her and the Commission, / can report.

The embattled SEC chief, who was earlier Wednesday accused by lawmakers of negligence and reckless financial expenditure, alleged Thursday that the lawmakers became uncompromising as she refused to offer the bribe to the House capital market committee, through its Chairman, Hernan Hembe.

Ms. Oteh, however did not refute the allegations of abuse of office, reckless spending and the flouting of due process under her management, levelled against her by the Committee.

While describing the House hearings as a Kangaroo court, worse than what applied in 'Idi Amin's Uganda', she claimed that the lawmaker had first asked her to bear the cost of the on-going public hearing with the sum of N39 million until it went down to N5million, including sponsoring of a foreign trip to Dominican Republic for members of the committee with estacodes paid for by the commission.

She also indicted the wife of the Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha, who works with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Abuja, an operator under the supervision of the Security and Exchange Commission.

Faced with the enormity of the allegations, which has caused unease in the hallowed chambers of the House of Representatives, Hon. Hembe, who has continued to feign ignorance of the financial accusations by Ms. Arunma Oteh, said 'I will be stupid to ask for such money when I know I can be prosecuted.'

Meanwhile, other lawmakers who were outside the venue had questioned why the hearing was televised live in the first instance, expressing concern that proceedings at the session had done huge damage to the lower federal legislative chamber.

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market and Institutions include Hembe Herman Iorwase and Chris Emeka Ifeanyi Azubogu as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively, while other members are Muhammad Galadanchi, Mohammed Abdullahi, Nassir Ahmed, Gambo Dan-Musa, Hussein Abdulkadir, Musa Sarkin-Adar, Uzoma Abonta, Ben Nwankwo, Stella Ngwu, Emmanuel Ukoete, Razaq Bello-Osagie, Kingsley Chinda, Adamu Entonu, Sadiq Mohammed, Isa Hassan Mohammed, Mohammed Sanda, Odubote Mukaila, Olumide Osoba, Olabiyi Oyekola, Adewusi Razaq and Ayodeji Jakande..

  Securities & Exchange Commission Boss Arunma Oteh in Financial Squander mania

  As previously reported on 6/5/2011, If Nigerians needed evidence that Mrs. Arunma Oteh, Director General of the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has a high proclivity and penchant for combining public office with her cravings for leisure and conspicuous consumption, then the revelation that she spent an astronomical thirty million naira on her hotel bills, is a scandal that should cost her, her job.

In the eight months between January and August 2010, the SEC paid N30, 510,100 on hotel accommodation and other related expenses for Arunma Oteh alone. The bulk of the amount was spent on her N120, 000 per night suite which took a whooping N26, 280,000; room service charges of 10% amounted to N2, 628,000. Other expenses included: feeding (N272, 300); value added tax (N1, 308,000); valet parking (N6, 800); laundry (N9, 400) and minibar (N5, 600). was told by sources at the hotel (name withheld for obvious reasons) that Arunma Oteh suffers from incurable money-mindedness that she is so averse to giving tips.

At a time when the underprivileged members of our society are struggling to survive, it is insensitive and an act of financial recklessness for the SEC Director General to waste so much money on her misplaced priorities. A source at the SEC told that Arunma Oteh is a spendthrift who is incapable of controlling her cravings. The source disclosed that Arunma Oteh has refused to rent an apartment, even a house in Lagos, befitting of her status. But Madame Director General has refused. She even reportedly turned down an offer made by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Lamido Sanusi to use the sumptuous CBN guest house in Abuja (see picture).

Amazingly, this is a clear case of moral profligacy that should shame the SEC and those who approve of such recklessness by some one who should lead by example. An SEC official who refused to confirm or deny the amount spent on Arunma Oteh's hotel bills came up with such fatuous arguments suggesting that the said amount of money spent on her hotel bills was insignificant vis-à-vis the SEC budget. No big deal; this is a cleverly contrived distraction from what promises to be a major scandal.

There are four aspects of Arunma Oteh's character that should attract close scrutiny: her leadership quality, her honesty, her moral character and her financial priorities as the head of the SEC. The stupendous amount spent by one person on her personal comfort and luxury is an insult to the Nigerian people. President Goodluck Jonathan should set up a committee to examine the pay and perks for the nation's public officials to check such excesses and abuse.