The state of the nation’s Capital Market has become very worrisome not only to the investing public, but also to the operators who depend on it for their daily income.
To make matters worse is the divergent views on the state of the market between the National Assembly and the executive on the fate of the embattled Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Arunma Oteh.
Oteh, who was sent on a compulsory leave by a resolution of the board of the Commission following allegation of financial improprieties in SEC’s project 50 was recalled by the Federal Government exonerated of the allegation.
According to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Anyim Pius Ayim, Oteh’s recall followed the outcome of the findings of the external auditors –PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Recall that the SEC board engaged the PwC, a renowned audit firm, to look into the allegations against Oteh in relation to her office and The Project 50.
Anyim noted that the PwC audit report exonerated her from all accusations of fraud and criminal breaches. She was however, cautioned for some administrative lapses.
But despite President Goodluck Jonathan’s not-guilty certification and recall of the embattled director-general, the Federal House of Representatives on Thursday maintained preference for her sack.
Oteh had been away on leave on the insistence of the board of SEC to allow investigation into allegations of corruption and bad blood among staff levelled against her. However, in considering the recommendations of the report of its ad hoc committee on the probe of the capital market, the House unanimously adopted the termination of her appointment, alleging incompetence and lack of requisite qualification.
Before adopting the recommendations, chairman of the ad hoc committee, Hon. Ibrahim Tukur El-Sudi (PDP, Taraba) told the House that her appointment was in violation of the Investment and Security Act, 2007.
“The appointment of Ms. Arunma Oteh be terminated forthwith as director-general of Securities and Exchange Commission, as her appointment is in violation of section 3(2) a and section 38 (1) (b), 2 and 3; section 315 of the Investment and 4ecurity Act, 2007 in that she did not have 15 years’ experience in the Nigerian capital market as required,” stated the report.
“She has shown incompetence in the management of human and material resources at her disposal in the Securities and Exchange Commission; lack of transparency in managing Project 50, regulatory failure in some of the recent mergers, acquisitions and approvals of transactions by Securities and Exchange Commission; general inability to carry along her staff, board and management in decision-making in Securities and Exchange Commission; and questionable staff recruitment policies.”
This confused state affairs in the regulation of the capital market has compounded the woes of the local bourse and does not augur well for the economy.
It is high-time the government really looked inwards and corrected this anomalies knowing full well that the Capital market is information driven, to avoid another round of bear run when investors are still leaking the wounds of monumental loss of their investments following the financial meltdown that depleted the share prices of stocks.
How long can the government go on tinkering with its Capital market as if it were welding or fixing a bad umbrella? Like one market analyst on the condition of anonymity said once said, “if you want to understand the language of animals in the bush, contact the local hunters where the animals graze” Surely, the answer to our problems is not in Euro zone crisis or the World Bank or the US; the answer lies within us.
I believe in the views that the government should immediately have serious parleys with the various institutes and associations that have securities and investment as their prime objective instead of having the market operate in a confused state due to insensitivity and bureaucratic bottlenecks.