Despite being on suspension, embattled former Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, made a dramatic appearance at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja for the Economic Management Team (EMT) meeting.
Until she was sent on compulsory leave by the Board of the Commission last month, Ms. Oteh was a member of the EMT by virtue of her former position as the boss of the apex capital market regulatory agency.
With her suspension from office, Ms. Oteh’s membership of the economic team should have ceased automatically, giving way to her successor.
It is not clear the basis upon which Ms. Oteh attended the meeting, particularly as her successor, Ibrahim Bello, has since resumed office as acting Director General.
Curiously however, the acting SEC DG was nowhere near the venue of the meeting.
Ms. Oteh, who arrived the venue of the meeting at about 1.30 p.m., went straight to the seat reserved for the SEC boss.
But no sooner had she settled into the seat than a female protocol official walked up to her, apparently to inquire her mission.
After a brief discussion in barely audible tones, the suspended former DG, who was holding two handbags, got up and was escorted out of the Council chambers by the protocol official, as both of them headed in the direction of the President’s Office.
Barely five minutes later, the protocol official returned without Ms. Oteh, who re-appeared at the venue a while later and went back to the seat designated for the SEC boss, where she kept her handbags and other belongings, before stepping out of the hall to consult briefly with the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Shortly after meeting with Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, Ms. Oteh returned to the venue of the meeting to pick her two bags before again heading to the President’s Office.
On her return to the venue a few minutes later, Ms. Oteh resumed the SEC DG’s seat as President Goodluck Jonathan arrived at the venue for the commencement of the day’s meeting.
The President’s approval of Ms. Oteh’s attendance at the meeting is suggestive that the SEC has two DGs at the moment.
Observers said Ms Oteh’s suprising appearance at the Villa for the meeting may have been part of a ploy by the presidency and the finance ministry to smoothen her quick return to her position at SEC despite the ongoing probe of her tenure over alleged mismanagement of the Project 50 event two years ago.