SEC Probes 5 Firms, 17 Stockbrokers Over Shares Fraud, Impersonation

In its bid to sanitise the capital market, the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) has probed a total of six dealing member firms and 17 stockbrokers over unauthorised sales of investors’ shares and impersonation between January, 2016 and February, 2017.

SEC had turned the heat on some operators in the capital market with a view to rid the sector of those perceived as bad influence in the system.

Expectedly, one of the case that served as a litmus test for SEC was its celebrated case with Albert Okumagba, the group managing director (GMD) of BGL Group.

SEC had suspended Okumagba and BGL from operating in the market a year ago and has since been investigating the complaints, even as he was also removed as the President of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS).

Okumagba was also banned from operating as a registered sponsored Individual with SEC.

SEC had last year expelled the BGL Group from the capital market after receiving over 30 petitions from aggrieved investors who claimed to have been defrauded by the company.

The BGL Group was allegedly involved in N28.9 billion fraud and malpractices for which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had arrested Okumagba.

Specifically, the commission had grilled Okumagba over alleged diversion of N28.9 billion being proceeds of private placements of 4.3 billion ordinary shares of 50k each at N7 per share in 2007.

The company, whose subsidiaries include BGL Capital, BGL Private Equity, BGL Security and BGL Asset Management, allegedly lured 50 investors from across the country into subscribing to the company’s shares, promising them options of liquidity and exit within two years.

Also, SEC investigated complaints against WT Securities Limited and handed over life bans to its directors, Mr. Taofik Lawal and Mrs. Iyabode Lawal from operating in the Nigeria capital market for mismanagement of stocks and unauthorised sale of shares.

Besides, SEC had suspended Heritage Capital Markets Limited, a stockbroker and dealer on the NSE, for alleged fraudulent sale of investor’s shares.

SEC also suspended the directors and sponsored individuals of the company, including two former presidents of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr. Chidi Ajaegbu and Mrs. Ibironke Osiyemi. Ajaegbu is the Managing Director of Heritage Capital Markets Limited, while Osiyemi chairs the board.

Other suspended directors include Dr Elijah Ogbuokiri, Prof Emmanuel Emenyonu and Oluseyi Olanrewaju, while Suspended sponsored individuals include Paul Onalo, chief compliance officer and Oyafemi Titus, a stockbroker.

SEC in January banned a capital market operator, Mr. George Nchedo Okafor, from being employed anywhere in the capital market. Okafor was also banned from holding the position of director in any corporate entity operating in the Nigerian capital market.

A copy of decisions of the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) in the matter of APC/2/2016: Ideal Securities & Investment Limited V. Mr. George Nchedo Okafor, revealed that Okafor was handed over to the anti-corruption agencies for further action.

In February, the managing director/CEO, Partnership Investment Company Plc, Victor Ogiemwonyi was arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos sequel to a petition by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), which accused him of fraudulent misappropriation of the sum of N1.24 billion and $80,000 and for sundry offences including stealing and dishonest conversion of proceeds of share sale.

Some of the defrauded investors had revealed that over 300 investors of Partnership Investment Company Plc (PIC) were swindled of over N4.8 billion.

Also, Alhaji Maina Muninga, Mr. John Nsofor, Mr. Oye Oyefeso, Mr. Ayokunle Oyedeji, were blacklisted by the market regulatory bodies for unauthorised sales of clients’ shares.

Other banned by capital market regulatory bodies for unauthorised transfers and sales of clients shares are Mr. Taju Folaji, Mr. Ichie Mike Ejezie, Mr. Segun Adebayo Adams , Mr. Olorunfemi Ayorinde, Mr. Abioye Eluwole and Mr. Gregory Otsu.

Source: Leadership

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