SEC Amazon Oteh Leaves Office

Yemisi Izuora
Arunma Oteh
The Director-General (D-G) of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Arunma Oteh today (Monday) officially exits office after spending the mandatory five (5) years.

Oteh is expected to hand over office to any of the commissioners on the board of SEC in Abuja.

Nigeria’s SEC currently has five (5) commissioners on its board three (3) of whom are executive commissioners, while the other are non-executive commissioners.

The five of them in January 2010 were appointed the three (3) executive commissioners are Mounir Gwarzo (operations); Zakawanu Garuba (finance and administration), and Sa’adatu Bello (legal and enforcement).

Also, Oteh in June 2010 was elected chairperson, Africa Middle East Regional Committee (AMERC) of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and was re-elected in June 2012 and in September 2014.

The outgoing DG of Nigeria’s SEC is a member of the Nigerian Economic Management Team and a director on the Board of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

SEC in a statement on Sunday highlighted all the achievements of Oteh during her five (5) years stay at the helms of affairs in the commission.

Her achievements include restoration of investor confidence through strong enforcement actions and improvement of rules and regulations, and investor education.

Also, she partnered with Nollywood to produce movies, an annual integrity award to promote integrity and capital market knowledge and established the National Investor Protection Fund (IPF) and strengthened its Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC).

Other accomplishments of Oteh as DG according to the statement are restoring market integrity through zero tolerance for rule infractions.  ‘’The SEC’s enforcement machinery was significantly strengthened to respond to this new emphasis. In addition to other measures, an 18-man Nigeria Police Force team was deployed as a resident enforcement team at the SEC to respond to enforcement matters with speed and promptitude. This was unprecedented in the history of the apex regulator,’’ SEC affirmed.

SEC further affirmed that under Oteh’s leadership, the commission strengthened disclosures and transparency; and spearheaded the implementation of international financial reporting standards for listed companies.

The commission promoted good corporate governance and in 2011, under Oteh’s leadership, published a new code of corporate governance for the Nigerian markets which was aimed at standards improvement in line with international best practice.

Despite these achievements, Oteh had been involved in some of controversies, for instance her faceoff  in March 2012 with  Herman Hembe, the chairman, House Committee on Capital Market, accusing Hembe, of demanding N39 million from SEC and another N5 million cash request to support the investigation into the dwindling fortunes of the Nigerian capital market.

Oteh also alleged that Hembe and Chris Azubogu, the committee’s deputy chairman, collected first class tickets and estacode from SEC to attend a capital market conference in the Dominican Republic but did not use the money as approved and did not return it.

Following these allegations, Hembe and Azobogu withdraw from the probe and the House of Representatives thereby reassigned the investigation to an eight-member ad-hoc committee chaired by Ibrahim El-Sudi.

After the investigations, the House recommended that Oteh should be sacked as the DG of SEC for not possessing the requirements for the job.

They also passed a resolution not to make any appropriation to the commission in the 2013 fiscal period except Oteh was sacked.

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