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Capital market operator drags SEC DG to court

By Innocent Anaba

ABUJA—Chief Livinus Ezemegbu, a stakeholder in the capital market,  has dragged the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, Ms Arunma Oteh, before a  Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, asking the court to interpret the provisions of the Investment and Security Act, ISA, 2007 as it relates to the qualifications and appointment to the position of SEC DG.

Ms Oteh, it will be recalled, was in January confirmed by the Senate for the position after her nomination by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

Defendants in the suit are the President, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Senate, Minister of Finance and the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.

Ezemegbu is contending in the suit that as a major player in the capital market, he knows that Oteh was not qualified to be appointed the DG of SEC because she lacked the requisite experience and having less than 15 years experience in the capital market, adding that the DG spent all her working life at the African Development Bank, which is not a capital market operator or registered as a capital market in Nigeria.

According to him, “the provisions of ISA 2007 with respect to Sections 3(2)(a) and 38(1)(a), (b), (2) and (3) and Section 315 used the word ‘shall’ and not ‘may’ with respect to who is qualified as a capital market operator to be appointed  the Director General of SEC, with 15 years cognate experience as a market operator.”

He is further contending that all the records at SEC showed very clearly that the DG was never registered by SEC as a market operator and as such, she is not qualified to occupy the position.

He is, therefore, praying the court to determine “whether the nomination of Ms Oteh  by the President and confirmation by the Senate was not in clear violation of the provisions of Sections 3(2)(a) and 38(1)(a), (b), (2) and (3) and Section 315 of ISA, 2007.”

According to him, the court should also determine whether the ISA, 2007 either expressly or by implication of its provisions, authorises the President to nominate for appointment a person as DG of the SEC with less than 15 years cognate experience in the capital market operations and whether the act of swearing in of Ms Oteh by the  Finance Minister, to act as the DG of SEC in contravention of the ISA 2007 does not amount to a nullity.

He is also praying the court to declare that the nomination of Ms Oteh by the President and her subsequent confirmation by the Senate was in clear violation of the provisions of Sections 3(2)(a) and 38(1)(a), (b), (2) and (3) and Section 315 of ISA, 2007

He also wants the court to declare that the appointment of the new Director General, having failed to conform or satisfy the provisions of Sections 3(2)(a) and 38(1)(a), (b), (2) and (3) and Section 315 of ISA, 2007 was unconstitutional, null and void.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the case.


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