THE apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that the broker-dealer and not the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) or Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) is liable for the misappropriation of N1, 237,245,000 and US$80,000.00 being proceeds of sale of 96,077,872 units of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc belonging to Mr. Arnold Ekpe, a former CEO of ETI.
The opinion was expressly contained in a letter dated February 2, 2016 by SEC and addressed to Mr. Ekpe’s lawyers, Sofunde Osakwe Ogundipe & Belgore, the summary of which is as follows: “The present scenario involving the conversion of proceeds of sale of Mr. Arnold Ekpe’s stocks has clearly resulted from the defalcation of the broker-dealer firm (Partnership Securities Limited). Having admitted its culpability in this regard, the company and its principals would be liable to the penalties imposed under rule 16.3(f). In addition, being a capital market operator, the Commission has commenced enforcement proceedings against the company”.
Ogiemwonyi, who is currently in Ikoyi Prison awaiting trial on three counts charge of stealing over N1.2 billion and $80,000 belonging to Arnold Ekpe (SAN), allegedly admitted in a letter to Ekpe, dated October 17, 2016, that his company misappropriated the money. “Further to our mandate to sell your 96,077,872 shares of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated at the fixed price of N16 per share, we confirm that the shares were sold by us for a total of N1.537 billion out of which N300,000,000 has been paid to you. We confirm that outstanding proceeds from the sale have been misappropriated by us and we undertake to meet the obligation of N1.237 billion and $80,000”.
The SEC position which is a major setback to Ekpe’s quest to squeeze the regulators for a refund on account of negligence is coming on the heels of another development, where his lawyer, Mr. Dele Belgore, who signed the letter of complaint to the regulators on November 15 has been arraigned by the EFCC for money laundering crimes totaling N450million.