Angry lawmakers, civil rights activists and stakeholders in the capital market sector on Wednesday condemned the recall of suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ms Arunma Oteh, by the Federal Government.
The Board of SEC had suspended Oteh on June 12 over, among other charges, alleged questionable handling of the funds realised from Project 50, an event the commission organised in 2011.
An Ad Hoc Committee on the Near-Collapse of the Capital Market had also indicted Oteh for similar offences. The House is scheduled to sit in consideration of the Ad Hoc committee’s report on Thursday (today).
The panel recommended the termination of Oteh’s appointment. It said the DG’s appointment breached existing laws as she did not possess the requisite 15-year experience in capital market operations.
The committee’s report noted that, “She (Oteh) has shown incompetence in the management of human and material resources at her disposal in SEC.
“Lack of transparency in the management of Project 50, regulatory failure in some of the recent mergers, acquisitions and approvals of transactions by SEC and general inability to carry along her staff, board and management in decision making in SEC, and questionable staff recruitment policy.”
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The Federal Government however recalled her via a letter by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, saying Oteh was never indicted for fraud.
Many members of the House were said to be angry at the government’s ploy to pre-empt the House by recalling the embattled DG without waiting for the Reps’ decision on her.
Workers of the SEC also protested at the commission’s head office on Wednesday thus paralysing activities at the stock market for several hours. The workers said Oteh should not be returned to the SEC in order to protect the integrity of the stock market.
A lawmaker in the lower chamber who spoke to one of our correspondents on Wednesday accused President Goodluck Jonathan of “shielding corruption” by recalling Oteh when investigation into the woman’s alleged offences had not been concluded.
“This is intentional and it shows that Mr. President is shielding corruption. They know that the report of the House on the woman is out and that it indicted Oteh and recommended her prosecution,” the lawmaker who asked for anonymity said.