Honourable Herman Hembe has stepped down as the chairman of the committee probing the activities of the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Hembe is the chairman, House of Representatives committee on Capital Market and other Financial Institution.
The director-general of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh, had on Thursday, accused Hembe of demanding a bribe of N44 million from the commission, a request she considered inappropriate and turned down. She therefore raised observations about the credibility of the panel of the House investigating the poor state of the capital market.
Specifically, Oteh alleged that it was biased to her because she refused to honour a request by the committee to give the chairman N44 million.
She also alleged that the chairman has a history of financial misconduct, hence her reservations about his competence to continue to direct the hearing.
Oteh said, “I question the ability of the chairman in carrying out a credible hearing. The reason I say I doubt his credibility is that in October last year, the SEC paid you estacode and a business Exchange Class ticket to travel to an emerging market conference in Dominican Republic. Please tell Nigerian people whether you actually went there and please also tell the Nigerian people whether if you didn’t go, you actually returned the money.
“I should not be subjected to what you subjected me to just because the SEC did not give you N5million in cash on Tuesday. It should not be, it should not be, Hon Hember! We need to start running this country differently.”
The SEC boss also said that the deputy speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, had also compromised his position.
Despite stepping aside, Hembe, who had previously expressed readiness to submit himself to be investigated by anti-graft agencies, insists that he is innocent of the allegations.
Mr. Hembe in an address to the House of Represenatative on Tuesday stated that, he “demanded and took no bribe but rather fought hard to resist any such temptation.”
He alleged that it was a memo from the SEC that proposed an overture to the committee ahead of the probe.
The lawmaker also stated that he will go to the court to seek a clarfication of his name which he claimed has being marred by the allegation.
The House of Represenataive has set up an ad-hoc committee on capital market which is to be headed by Honourable Ibrahim El-Sudi from Taraba state.
The new committee must come up with a new plan in 21 day.