SEC commissioners tell federal lawmakers that the DG’s actions demoralised staff and thus affected the capital market

The Executive Commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Wednesday, accused the Director General, Arunma Oteh, for the agency’s shortcomings that have impacted negatively on the nation’s capital market.

The Commissioners, who appeared before the House of Representatives adhoc committee on capital market, said Oteh had sidelined long-standing staff of the commission, and had recruited her choices and vested them with key responsibilities.

The officials said the isolation has caused divisions within the commission, and diminished team spirit needed to police the capital market.

The disclosures have heightened controversies around Oteh, who has long been regarded by the lawmakers as arrogant after she levelled N44 million bribery allegations against the former House Capital Market Committee.

Oteh told the lawmakers on Wednesday that since taking office, she had worked to infuse team cooperation amongst the workers, and was currently at efforts to improve the pay package.

She also claimed the management team, comprised of executive commissioners, was in charge of the planning for the commission’s marking of its 50th anniversary, called Project 50.

But the claims were refuted by all the commissioners individually, laying before the House committee a picture of a regulatory commission that is divided against itself, in the face of a falling capital market.

“Our staff are not feeling recognised again; the moment they feel recognised, SEC will rise again. We seem to have a regulatory comatose,” said Charles Udora, the commissioner, Legal and Enforcement.

Asked by the lawmakers about the recruitments of new staff done by the agency, the commissioners denied knowledge of the employment.

The officials also told the lawmakers they were never part of the Project 50 as claimed by Oteh, and also made no inputs into the commission’s policy guide, named Roadmap to First Class Capital Market, which Oteh constantly brandishes to the committee.

Udora, whose explanations was hailed by the committee, cited the case of a 1998 graduate who was promoted to director by Oteh, while several more experienced and more qualified staff remained at deputy director cadre. He cited cases where specialised decisions from different departments of the commission were overturned by Oteh, in favour of questionable organisations.

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