Daily Trust (Abuja)

Nigeria: Reps Won't Approve SEC's 2013 Budget - Hembe

The National Assembly will not approve any money for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2013 because it does not recognize its current Director General Ms Arunma Oteh, Chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Capital Market and Institutions, Rep. Herman Hembe has said.

Speaking to Daily Trust on telephone yesterday, Hembe said it was the resolve of the legislature that not a dime will be appropriated for the commission since the executive arm of government has refused to implement its resolution which recommended the sacking of Oteh. The reps contended that she was not qualified for the post ab initio, according to the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act 2007.

"We returned the budget as they sent it because as far as we are concerned, she is illegally occupying the seat and so long as she remains there, we won't have anything to do with SEC," Hembe said.

He further warned: "And if she ever tries to spend one kobo as from January 1st 2013, the National Assembly will not take the matter lightly. We will consider it as extra-budgetary expenditure and we will invoke relevant provisions of the 1999 constitution to address the matter."

In March this year, Oteh had accused Rep Hembe who was then the chairman of the Capital Market of soliciting N44 million bribes from her in the wake of the capital market hearing which the lawmaker denied. Hembe had resigned the committee chairmanship position following the allegation.

The House had on July 19 adopted the report of its adhoc committee on the investigation of the "near collapse" of the Nigerian capital market chaired by Rep. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi which recommended that Oteh be sacked because she was not qualified to hold the position of SEC DG based on the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act, 2007.

On resumption from its two months annual recess on September 18 the House unanimously passed another resolution asking Jonathan to sack the SEC boss in obedience of its earlier resolution. Also, the Senate committee on Capital Market had issued a statement concurring with their colleagues in the House over Oteh's matter. Oteh was however recalled from the suspension she was serving, slammed on her by the SEC board.

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