Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission Ms. Arunma Oteh yesterday opened the Pandora’s box at a legislative hearing when she accused the House of Representatives’ capital market committee chairman Herman Hembe of asking her for a bribe of N44 million. Oteh, who the lawmakers on Wednesday accused of large-scale fraud, fired back yesterday, saying Hembe made two different demands for money, totalling N44 million. She said her refusal to give the funds was behind the hostility of the committee to her during the hearing. Hembe first asked for N39 million to fund the public hearing on the activities of the capital market, she said. Then, a week before the commencement of the sittings, he asked her for N5 million, which she also turned down, Oteh added, drawing the ire of committee members who made further allegations of corruption against the SEC director-general.
On Wednesday, at the first session of the hearing, Hembe told Oteh that documents available to the committee showed she used N850,000 for feeding on a day alone, and also spent N30 million on hotel bills. Yesterday, Oteh reeled out her own accusations against the lawmakers, labelling the hearing as a kangaroo court that was worse than the atrocities committed by the late Ugandan leader Idi Amin. She said last year, Hembe collected from SEC monies and a business class ticket to travel to the Dominican Republic for a conference but did not travel and never returned the money.