Speaking before the House of Representatives Committee investigating the near collapse of the Nigerian capital market, Prof. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, the former director-general of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), dismissed the accusations of mismanagement of about N2.7bilion and financial recklessness levelled against her by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Director General, Ms. Arumah Oteh.
Earlier on Monday, while testifying on the collapse of the capital market , Ms Oteh had accussed Mrs Okereke-Onyiuke of spending N37m on a yacht and N1.3billion on business travels. She also said that NSE Council members shared N1.7b surplus among themselves.
Responding to the allegations, Mrs Okereke-Onyiuke said that the SEC had no power to dictate how the NSE, a private company, spends its money. She said, â€śThe SEC has no business over how a private company spends its money. We did not collect money from anybody and we have a right to spend our money the way we want. It is not investorsâ€™ money or shareholdersâ€™ money; it is money that was made legally. NSE is a private companyâ€ť
â€śAs at 2006 when the market was booming, I implored the Council to review the fees to 0.3 because we were making too much money and we had nowhere to put the surplus. So before I was forced out, the Nigerian Stock Exchange market was healthy and vibrant.
She also spoke about the money she was alleged to have spent on trips, and accussed the SEC of doctoring some documents saying, "the Securities and Exchange Commission doctored some of the documents that they broke into NSE and removed. The kind of money they are mentioning even stock brokers know that NSE does not have that kind of moneyâ€ť. She added that members of the NSE were sent on training courses all over the world.
The former NSE DG also gave some insight into her controversial "fund-raiser" for the 2008 election of the United States President, Barack Obama. She said, â€śI did not raise money for Obama. I knew Obama since 2005 before he became the President. I lived in the US for 14 years and I am not dumb, I am very smart and I know the law. What I did was to create awareness for our brothers in the US to vote for him because he has 50 percent black in him. I called friends to a dinner, which was later termed concert where some musical artistes attended.
â€śAs a matter of fact, I funded the concert myself and it was a friend of mine, Olulade, a stock broker, that insisted that I should not go it alone and he contributed. Nobody, except the two of us, funded the dinner. I did not collect money from anybody because I know the laws of the United States and I know that it is illegal to donate to Obamaâ€™s campaign in that manner.
â€śEven when I was invited by the EFCC, I was allowed to go because I had not done anything wrong.â€ť
During her testimony, she also commented on another controversial incdent, her appointment as chairman of Transcorp by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which was alledged to be a conflict of interest, since she also remained as chairman of the NSE. Spe said, â€śI was directed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who came up with the idea of estaking about Transcorp, she said, I was directed by former President Olusegun Obasanjo who came up with the idea of establishing Transcorp to be like the Asian Tiger to oversee and lead the management of the company. Transcorp was made to be a public company because President Obasanjo directed that all Nigerians should be part of it, even government officials were allowed to buy shares of Transcorp.
â€śWhen he told me to be the chairman of the company, I objected and told him that I could not be in the group because I headed the NSE and since some of those people were in the exchange as well and I would have to make decisions on quoted companies, conflict of interest would arise. However, he insisted that I should see it as a national assignment. I also went to the council of the NSE to seek their approval and they gave me the go ahead. So it was not an illegal act because the council of the NSE approved it. There was no conflict of interest with my appointment as chairman of Transcorp and DG of the NSE."
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA May 11, 2012
Laughable disposition by Mrs. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke and Kubowei Mukoro. First, NSE is a public entity run as a private entity. NSE falls into the same category with NNPC, CBN, SEC, River Basin Development Authority, etc. This is the reason why the head of the NSE is a DG, and is appointed by government. As a public institution, it is not a private company where the activies of the management cannot be questioned.
Second, the SEC is a government agency responsible for overseeing any purchases, sales and deals in securities. NSE deals in securities. How then can the NSE be isolated from the probing search light of the SEC?
Third, the NSE is saddled with the responsibility to attact investments into Nigeria, among other functions. But before Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke was removed, many private companies closed down their businesses in Nigeria only to relocate them in other African countries. Was such relocation a positive or negative achievement to the NSE?
Fourth, the market capitalisation that hovered above N14 trillion crashed to just a little above N5 trillion or 35.71% of its maximum value under her management. Is it wrong to investigate the cause of such colossal amount? I think otherwise. Fifth, if being the Chairman of Transcorp simultaneously with her DG position did not manifest in her conflict of interest, why would the N2.0 million shares bought by Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo be suddenly changed to Obasanjo Farms Ltd after so much public outcry?
Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke was among the team of economic marauders and mediocrities that came on board the Mr. Obasanjo administration. Others include Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (now in Mr. Goodluck Jonathan regime), Mrs. Oby Ezekwesele, Mrs. Doral Akunyili, Mr. Charles Soludo and Mr. Nasir El-Rufai. I hope to write comprehensively on these agents of economic and social disaster soon. God save Nigeria.
kayode tijani lagos, nigeria May 09, 2012
Nigerian Stock Exchange has a right to spend its money the way we want - ex DG, Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke - This is beautiful then Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke MUST and SHOULD allow some else to spend her personal money the way he/she wants.
KABOWEI MUKORO WARRI, NIGERIA May 09, 2012
Ndi Okoreke Onyuike is right. Any agrieved person who lost money in the stock exchange has the right to get a shortgun and blow her head off - it is a private affair.