23 March 2012

Nigeria: SEC Probe - EFCC Grills Hembe Today

Chairman, House Committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Hon. Herman Hembe, is expected to appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Thursday to answer questions on allegations that he demanded bribe from the Securities and Exchange Commission (FEC).

Hembe, who withdrew from the investigative public hearing on the crash of the capital market following the allegations, will also be a guest of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) at a later date.

THISDAY gathered that the EFCC had invited Hembe to appear before its operatives today as part of the preliminary investigations to establish the truth of the matter.

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Zakary Mohammed, told journalists Thursday, that the embattled lawmaker would be facing a three-pronged investigation in the coming days as the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges had also been mandated to investigate the matter and submit a report in two weeks.

Mohammed said given the controversy the matter had generated, the House was considering putting the proceedings of the Ethics and Privileges Committee as well as the ad hoc committee that had taken over the capital market crash investigation on live telecast.

According to the spokesman of the House, the allegations levelled against Hembe and his committee members were a serious challenge to the integrity of the parliament and conducting the investigations openly would enable the public to follow the trend of events, ensure transparency and erase insinuations of any possible cover-up.

He however appealed to all parties involved in the crisis to refrain from further comments to avoid creating more confusion. He also advised the media to exercise restraint in running commentaries and opinions but to allow the relevant House committee and anti-corruption agencies to do their job.

"For once, the integrity of the National Assembly, particularly the House has been called to question. These three points of investigation should be able to give us the truth of the matter. The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges has two weeks to produce its report. Anything that Hembe says; anything that you write and anything that the Securities and Exchange Commission says now could confuse those investigating the issue," Mohammed said.

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