The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday wielded the big stick by ordering the immediate suspension of BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited from all Capital Market activities.
The Executive Management Committee of the capital market regulatory authority handed the sanctions at the end of its meeting held to consider the report of a detailed investigation into the various complaints from investors against subsidiaries of BGL Group.
Details of the sanctions included that all sponsored individuals of the three subsidiary companies of the BGL Group whose particulars are contained in the Commission’s record as at December 2014 be suspended from performing any Capital Market activity.
On his part, the Group Managing Director of BGL Group, Albert Okumagba, was asked to cease to be a registered sponsored individual with the Commission following the withdrawal of the registration of BGL Plc as a Capital Market Operator.
Mr. Okumagba, who is the president and Chairman of Council of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), the professional umbrella body for stockbrokers in Nigeria, is therefore no longer entitled to carryout Capital Market activities.
The Commission said all suspicious transactions observed in the course of the investigation have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for further investigation, while the affected companies and all individuals involved in their management have been referred to the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) for further action.
Other companies associated with the BGL Group include BGL Private Equity Limited, I-skill Limited, and Immersion Marketing Strategies (IMS) Limited.
The Commission had earlier sacked the Albert Okumagba-led management and board of BGL Plc, and replaced them with an interim management board.
The group operated as an advisory services and products provider to clients, including governments, corporations, financial institutions and high net worth individuals.
In October 2014, the Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered BGL to pay First Bank of Nigeria Limited about N1.407 billion for defaulting in the repayment of the credit facilities the bank extended to it.
Most capital market operators say the action against BGL Group was long overdue, as it was seeing itself as one of the “sacred cows” in the sector.
The National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, traced the travails of the company to the Transcorp Hotel Plc public offer in 2014.
The minority shareholders of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc had complained that they were not adequately consulted by the board before they were pulled out of the group.
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