Thursday, April 24, 2014

Documentary evidence: How SEC's N30.4million bribe to House committee was cooked

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Herman Hembe claims the bribe offers originated from SEC

The internal memos of the Security and Exchange Commission (download them below) presented Tuesday by the  chairman of the House capital market committee, Herman Hembe, to back his claim he had been offered a N30 million bribe by the commission’s embattled Director General, Arunma Oteh, added a new twist to the nauseating saga instead of resolving it.

That the first letter, dated March 1, 2012, originated from the commission, gives the impression that the idea of sending our “forthright lawmakers” money came from the very “clean” SEC. A point there for Mr. Hembe.

That Ms. Oteh, according to the minutes of the letter, approved the memo authorizing the release of N30.4 million for that purpose, further backs that claim. Another point for Mr. Hembe.

Then, within a week or so, the contact has been established with the legislators as Ms. Oteh directed. But unlike what Mr. Hembe claimed on Tuesday, he did not “fight hard to avoid” the offer.

Instead, as the second memo dated March 9, 2012, points out, “the (House)committee welcomed this development and accordingly forwarded a budget estimate” for the public hearing, which co-sponsorship, the SEC had mulled. A point here for Ms. Oteh.

Then, that the commission chose to address “two items only” from the budget- suggesting the lawmakers presented more – again appears to contradict the lawmaker’s claim he fought to reject the offer. Another point for Ms. Oteh.

Meantime, both sides have claimed to have turned down the other’s overtures. Ms. Oteh said she rejected the demands of the house, while Mr. Hembe claims he “fought to avoid” the offer.

But that the lawmakers, whose public heaings are adequately funded by House budgetary provisions, even considered the N30.4million offer as the papers claim tips another point Ms. Oteh’s way.

We await the final verdict on the matter from the House ethics committee. But preliminary evidence suggests there is no saint between SEC and the committee.

Download the three memos here

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