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Market infractions: Disquiet as SEC releases incomplete offenders’ list




3 Nov 2010   
The Securities and Exchange Commission has released 36 more names from the list of 260 entities and individuals it dragged to the Investments and Securities Tribunal on July 27, 2010 for alleged violation of capital market rules.
The new list is coming three months after the commission released the first batch of 71 names, bringing the total number of names released so far to 107.
The former Managing Director, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Bartholomew Ebong, directors of the bank and its subsidiaries; and Managing Director, Falcon Securities Limited, Mr. Peter Ololo, are among those on SEC’s latest list, which was released on Tuesday.
The incomplete list has, however, generated heated controversy among stakeholders, who insist that SEC must release the full list this week to avoid unsettling the capital market, which it is currently cleaning up.
Our correspondents had demanded the full list from SEC on Sunday when stakeholders complained of double standards. But the Head, Media, SEC, Mr. Lanre Oloyi, had said, ”We will release the list at the appropriate time. We have made it known that we have taken 260 entities and individuals to the IST. These entities will be listed soon. The cases are being filed with the IST. Ours is to file the cases, the identities will be made known later.”
SEC later released part of the remaining names on the list on Tuesday, saying that Ebong, directors of Union Bank and its subsidiary, Union Trustees Limited, were allegedly involved in manipulating the share price of the bank.
It also accused Ololo and other members of his company‘s board of using N30.48bn credit facilities obtained from two foreign financial institutions to artificially raise Union Bank‘s share price in anticipation of a future public offer.
SEC said, ”Over a 10-day period in November 2007, Union Bank transferred these funds to its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Trustees Limited, in five tranches.
”In turn, and almost immediately upon receipt of each tranche, Union Trustees also transferred the N30.477bn to Falcon Securities Limited in five successive tranches, which acquired over 620 million units of Union Bank shares.”
The statement said that Ebong; former Executive Director, Risk Management and Compliance, Union Bank, Mr. Samuel Ayininuola; former Managing Director, Union Trustees, Mr. Henry Onyemem; Ololo and others devised a scheme whereby Falcon actively traded in Union Bank shares, specifically to move the share price upward.
This act, the statement added, violated Section 105 of the ISA, 2007, ”which prohibits activities that may create a false or misleading appearance of active trading in Union Bank shares.”
Some other names on the list are Anthony Esangbedo and Musa Gella Yakubu, among others.
But stakeholders want the full list released.
The Registrar, Institute of Capital Market Registrars, Dr. David Ogogo, said the full list should have been released in line with corporate governance principles.
He said, “Transparency should be displayed by the apex regulator through the release of the full list. That is the best way forward, so that operators and other stakeholders will not feel that SEC has something to hide. This is also important so that some stakeholders will not feel that some big people are trying to ensure that their names are not mentioned.”
According to the Managing Director, Value Investing Limited, Mr. Seye Adetunmbi, “The only thing that can bring sanity to the market is for SEC to publish the full names of those on its list. If people know that they cannot do something, then they should not start it. They should release the full list now, so that it will serve as a deterrent to other people, otherwise, they will be seen as compromising standards.”
The President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association, Chief Timothy Adesiyan, said, “What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Discipline should not be half way. Once they have released some names, the remaining names must be released. The market is getting better now and share prices are moving up. We should not do anything to destabilise the market.”
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