Sunday, April 20, 2014

Reps insist Oteh must go


SEC DG, Arunma Oteh

 The House of Representatives has taken a stand against the presidency on Arunma Oteh.

The House of Representatives announced Tuesday it will no longer recognize Arunma Oteh as the Director General of the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, and urged her immediate removal.

The lawmakers insist President Goodluck Jonathan must fire the SEC boss in line with an earlier position of the House; failure of which legislators will cease to accord her any recognition as the commission’s Director General, DG.

The unprecedented order, indicating an ambitious attempt by the House to ensure executive compliance with its frequently ignored resolutions, came as a fresh chapter in a running controversy between the lawmakers and Ms. Oteh.

It will be the first time a chamber of the legislature will move against a supposedly indicted official explicitly terminating formal relations with such official.

Ms. Oteh, who was entangled in an elaborate bribery scandal against some lawmakers early this year, was amongst officials indicted by the House investigation of the nation’s fledgling capital market in July.

She had accused the capital market committee, headed then by Herman Hembe-later disbanded- of soliciting a N44 million bribe, setting off a string of controversies that lasted months.

Mr. Hembe was forced to resign as the committee head, not before accusing Ms. Oteh of attempting to bribe the committee with N30 million.

An ad hoc committee named as a replacement, headed by Ibrahim El Sudi, found Ms. Oteh, earlier accused of embarking on frivolous spending spree, guilty of a range of irregularities and demanded her removal.

The recommendation was rejected by the Federal Government which immediately reinstated Ms. Oteh from a month old suspension.

The controversies continued for the embattled DG with the commission’s staff rejecting her leadership and repeatedly staging protests to seek her removal.The House said on Tuesday, in a motion sponsored by Nicholas Ossai, it stood by its decision and criticized the president for his penchant for disobeying resolutions emanating from the National Assembly.

“The House is concerned that the president has repeatedly refused to implement important resolutions of the House and treats with contempt important resolutions,” the motion said.

The House committee on legislative compliance will assess the executive’s observance of Ms. Oteh’s sack within 14 days, the lawmakers said.

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