By Peter Egwuatu

THE Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, yesterday, said that investors in the Nigerian capital market with multiple subscriptions for public offers of any firm quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, may forfeit their investments.

The Commission, in a statement, said that it has approved the report of its committee on formulation of a uniform position for the treatment of multiple subscriptions to public offers.

According to the statement signed by the Commission’s Head of Corporate Communications, Naif Abdussalam, the report categorized investors involved in multiple subscriptions as: First, investors who actually existed but joggled their names in different forms to enable them purchase more than the permitted units of shares on offer; and second, are as those that did not actually exist but used fictitious names for the purpose of purchasing more than the permitted number of shares during public offers. The report, according to Abdussalam, agreed that both groups had fraudulent intentions and their actions were collectively illegal.

It would be recalled that SEC, at its last Capital Market Committee Meeting (CMC) approved that the first category of the investors should be considered for a level of forbearance by giving them a grace period up to 1st September, 2017 within which to come forward and expressly prove their individual identities, subject to highest Know Your Customer, KYC, criteria to be defined by SEC.

To that extent, those owners, whose identities are established, would then be allowed to consolidate their accounts. After the expiration of the time frame, unclaimed dividends traceable to this category that have not been identified and consolidated along with their securities shall be transferred to the Nigerian Capital Market Development Fund, NCMDF, to be managed transparently in a separate basket under clear guidelines.

Secondly, the CMC approved  that since the second category refers to those securities with non-existent owners, the unclaimed dividends and related securities of this category cannot be ascribed to anyone. Therefore, both the unclaimed dividends and securities shall be transferred to the NCMDF.

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