The management of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), on Wednesday, visited the Abuja headquarters of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and agreed on the need to strengthen collaborations in the fight against capital market crime.
Acting Director-General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said the visit was necessitated by the need to also leverage on the expertise and mandate of the ICPC in tackling corrupt practices.
In particular, she said such corrupt practices, especially fraud that remains prevalent, is a major obstacle to the actualization of the commission’s mandate of ensuring a transparent Nigerian Capital Market.
Uduk said the SEC’s regulatory role is primarily to protect investors, maintain a fair, efficient and transparent market by ensuring integrity through preventing fraudulent practices.
This shared goal she added, has necessitated collaboration with relevant anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies in a bid to ensure that the market is fair to all investors.
“We are aware that your agency is established to curb corruption in the public sector, but as an agency of government, we owe investors the duty to protect their investments, hence the need for this collaboration,” she added.
Uduk said the Capital Market has witnessed incidences of fraud by market operators who converted and diverted investors’ funds, utilising same for the acquisition of personal properties within and outside Nigeria. Such situations, if not curbed proactively, potentially undermines investor confidence.
“We believe that this collaboration will be mutually beneficial to both agencies. Promoting market integrity and the integrity of the regulator is important for facilitating the liquidity and depth necessary to attract local and foreign investors. This naturally translates to sustainable growth and development of the economy which impacts the lives of every citizen and resident.
“We are confident that creating awareness within the commission, on relevant laws and regulations administered by the ICPC, would project the commission as a law-abiding institution, aid our fight against market abuse, and further boost investor confidence in the regulator and the market.
“Given that technology and globalization have made it easy for assets to be dissipated or to disappear without a trace, swift and effective ways of safeguarding and tracing assets has become even more relevant. The commission, therefore, seeks to leverage on your intelligence network in other countries, for the tracing and recovery of assets belonging to innocent and hardworking investors in the Nigerian Capital Market,” she added.
Responding, chairman of the ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, noted the importance of the capital market to any economy that desires to grow, assuring of his commission’s readiness to partner the SEC so Nigeria will reap the benefits of a vibrant capital market.
“I understand the need to protect investors because the capital market has been so badly affected by the activities of fraudulent individuals and organisations.
“We are happy to collaborate with the SEC to look at those who are giving the investment climate a bad name by collecting investors funds and disappearing. We have powers to trace such people and seize their assets”.
Owasanoye said the capital market is technical, which underscores the need for mutual understanding between both organizations, offering to train officials of the SEC “on issues relating to how to ensure that your processes are not susceptible to corrupt practices, while you, on the other hand, train our staff on capital market issues.”
Photo caption: Acting Director-General of the SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, in a chat with Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission Prof Bolaji Owasanoye during a meeting between SEC and ICPC in Abuja on Wednesday. With them is the acting Executive Commissioner, Operations, Securities and Exchange Commission Isyaku Tilde.