Nigerian House of Representatives has said that Hon. Herman Hembe remains Chairman of its Committee on Capital Market, and that he and his deputy, Hon. Chris Azubogu, were never sacked by the leadership of the House.
Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Ms. Arunma Oteh, had alleged that the two lawmakers demanded gratification from her, an allegation for which they are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC), and have since been variously referred to as former chairman and deputy respectively.
However, at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, Deputy Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Victor Ogene, said that contrary to insinuations, both Hembe and members of his committee voluntarily stepped down from the capital market investigation and not the from the standing committee itself.
“I have been reading in the media where they ascribe to honourable and Azubogu as former Chairman of the Capital Market Committee. I don’t think that the House at any sitting or anywhere took them out of their positions.
“In fact, it was Hembe that asked that his committee be excused from that function. So, they remain Chairman and Deputy of the Capital Market committee”.
Also reacting to the ongoing trail of the chairman and deputy, Ogene said that the SEC DG is a member of the EFCC board, as such, it is wrong for the anti-graft agency to be the one to handle a case is directly involved.
“It is an open knowledge that the Director General is statutorily a member of the Board of the EFCC. So, if she is involved in a tango with any individual or Organisations, I do not think that the EFCC is the right body to jump into such an investigation.
“I remember quite vividly that Honourable Hembe said that he was open to investigation by the anti graft agencies, he didn’t mention EFCC. So why would it be the EFCC that would jump into it”.
He equally said that the charges against them could not stand the true test of law.
“Go and look at the single count charge which is section 308. Section 308 will not stand if that is the charge and you are talking of an administrative procedure where you gave people money for a conference that was supposed to begin on the 19 of October and the money got to them through third parties on the same 19. This money wasn’t signed for by them.
“And if you are seeking retirement for those funds it has to be the people who collected the money that should retire it. All these has not been taken care of and what EFCC did was to take them to court.
” Like I said the matter is in court and I am sure that the Judiciary will do the right thing,” he concluded.