House urges SEC to sheathe sword over N44 million bribery allegations

Herman Hembe faces corruption allegation from SEC DG, Arunma Oteh

A rattled House of Representatives, faced with a rash public scrutiny over allegation its members sought bribes from a government agency they should oversight, asked for calm on Thursday, promising transparency in its investigations, and urging the accuser, the Security and Exchange Commission(SEC) to curtail further outbursts on the matter.

New details of the episode have continued to emerge since the allegations first erupted at a House capital market committee public hearing last week, at some time pointing the blame the lawmakers’ way, and at another, seeming to back the committee’s counter-accusation that the SEC initiated the inducement.

Herman Hembe, the chief accused, who headed the house committee, resigned Tuesday alongside other members of the committee, and are to face internal House inquiry over the allegation. Mr. Hembe has denied culpability. A House adhoc committee is to carry on with the capital market public hearing,

Mr. Hembe will also be questioned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) on Friday, lawmakers confirmed today although they would not want to be officially quoted.

Spokesperson of the House, Zakari Mohammed, called on members involved and the capital market regulatory agency, the SEC, to cease accusations and counter-accusations, pending the outcome of the adhoc committee on Ethics and privileges report.

“It is necessary that all parties involved in the matter to give the committee the benefit of doubts and wait for its report,”  he told journalists at a briefing Thursday afternoon.

“The committee has 21 days to work on the matter and I can assure you  that there will be fair hearing for all the parties involved.”

Mr. Zakari specifically urged the commission to rein its spokesperson, Obi Adindu, and stop him from issuing further statements on this issue.

“Anything the involved parties say now will go a long way in distorting what is on ground because is just like a matter in the court.

“And you know that with this issue on ground the integrity of the House of Representatives has been called to question.”

Mr. Mohammed said the proceedings of both the committees on capital market and Ethics and Privileges would be open to the media.

“Though expensive, we do not have anything to hide there will be live coverage of both committees and all parties will be given a fair hearing,” he said.


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