Bribery Shocker! House committee Chairman on Capital Market probe steps down


Honourable Herman Hembe and Dr Arunma

The  chairman of  House of Representatives committee on Capital Market,  Honourable Herman Hembe has stepped down.

In an unprecedented action reminiscent of a top office holder in the Western World making efforts to clear his name in a scandal allegation,  Hon Hembe claims he wanted to clear his name from being tarnished due to the allegation.

He was accused last week by Dr Oteh Arunma who alleged that the Chairman  had no moral justification questioning her competence because he had requested for a massive 44Million Naira bribe just as the probe commenced.

The allegation had sent a message of moral questioning on the part of the Committee Chairman.

The committee has been probing the activities of the Nigeria Stock Exchange and the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) which had been accused of gross financial mismanagement.

The Director-general of SEC  Dr Oteh Arunma last week also claimed  that Mr. Hembe had previously  demanded a bribe of N39 million nad later N44million from SEC for the ongoing probe apparently for the members action to be watered down and SEC case handling by the committee downgraded in order to weaken the outcome.

It is almost the first honourable action  known to have been taken with such precision and alacrity due to an accusation against any Nigerian public office holder in history.

Dr Oteh Arunma  also accused Mr Hembe of demanding N5million from the commission to enable him travel to the Dominican Republic to attend an Emerging market conference without embarking on the journey and refusal by the House member to return the money back to government after the terminated trip.

Mr. Hembe in an address to the House plenary on Tuesday stated that ” I demanded and took no bribe but instead have fought hard to resist any such temptation from any sources.”

He also alleged that allegations against him was actually a reverse overture as  “it was a memo from SEC that proposed an overture to the committee ahead of the probe,” apparently claiming a bribe had originally been offered by Arunma herself.

The lawmaker therefore tendered his resignation as the head of the committee but affirmed that he will head to the court to clear his name “that has been marred” by the leadership of SEC.

The House has set up an ad-hoc committee headed by Ibrahim El-Suid from Taraba state to continue with the probe. The new committee has 21 days to conclude the probe.

The SEC DG on Thursday made the accusations in response to the claims by the Committee that she has mismanaged the affairs of the commission and the committee was out to tarnish her intergrity.

In a anger-laden speech as he answered questions from members of the probe committee last Thursday, Arunma turned the table at the probe venue accusing  the committee of discrediting her professional record through the probe.

She had diverted the committee focus as she sent across her tirade even though the nation awaits her proving to the world she had been innocent of all corruption that has destroyed SEC and that the institurtion had been run credibly.

She instead questioned the credibility of the Chairman of the committee  in conducting such probe when he was a public office holder filled with corruption stench.

House of Representatives

In his response, Mr Hembe noted all the allegations listed by the SEC and volunteered  himself and the committee to questioning and  probe which he ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to take up immediately.

The development however has created a precedence that may be upheld by various institution across the nation that corrupt accusations must be met with official step down pending result of a probecusation otherwisw that may prove the ac.