The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), have reached an agreement to collaborate in the fight against fraud and other related offences in the Nigerian capital market.
This agreement was reached when the SEC management met with the ICPC team in Abuja, yesterday.
Acting Director-General of SEC, Ms. Mary Uduk, said the visit was necessary in order to seek collaboration, and also leverage the expertise and mandate of the ICPC in tackling corrupt practices especially fraud, which has been prevalent in the Nigerian capital market, and which is a major obstacle to the actualisation of the objectives of the Commission.
Uduk said the objective of regulating the capital market is to protect investors, maintain a fair, efficient and transparent market by ensuring integrity and by preventing fraudulent practices.
She said: “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.”
Uduk said the capital market has witnessed incidences of fraud by market operators, who had converted and diverted investors’ fund and utilised same for the acquisition of personal properties within and outside Nigeria, adding that this 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.”
She added: “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 have 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.”
In his remarks, ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, said the capital market is very important to any economy that wants to grow, saying the ICPC is ready to partner with the SEC to enable Nigeria to 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’ fund and disappearing. We have powers to trace such people and seize their assets.”
Owasanoye said the capital market is technical and that underscores the need for mutual understanding between both organisations, adding: “We can train you 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.”