Nigeria’s apex capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has slammed a life ban on Group Managing Director, BGL Group, Mr. Albert Okumagba and deputy managing director, Mr. Chibundu Edozie.
The Commission also cancelled the licenses of two of Okumagba’s companies, BGL Assets Management Limited and BGL Securities Limited.
Okumagba, a former president of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) and council member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), and Edozie, two of the most influential capital market operators, were also banned from ever holding office in any public company in Nigeria.
These were the final decisions of the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) in the matter of APC/1/2015: Rivers State Ministry of Finance & 31 Others V. BGL Plc & 31 Others. In a circular on the final decisions, SEC indicated that the companies and their officials breached extant capital market laws and rules that led to a loss of N5.77 billion to 32 innocent investors.
The circular stated that the decisions on Okumagba and others were final as the decisions have “been approved by the relevant authority”. The relevant authority to SEC may be the Federal Ministry of Finance, its supervising ministry.
According to the Commission, it received 32 complaints between 2012 and 2015 against the BGL companies over certain conducts in relation to operations of their Guaranteed Consolidated Notes (GCN) and Guaranteed Premium Notes (GPN).
“Investigations revealed that the 1st to the 4th respondents had through the 5th to 32nd breached some provisions of the Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 as well as the SEC Rules and Regulations, which resulted to a loss of about N5,769,993,553.67 for 32 innocent investors,” SEC stated.
The Commission stated that in order to ensure that the innocent investors obtain justice while also granting all parties fair hearing, the Commission invited all parties before the APC and having properly issued hearing notices, the APC sat on December 8, 2016 to hear the matter.
According to the Commission, in the course of the hearing, testimonies and documentary evidence were tendered by various parties, which led to the decisions of the APC.
Other officials that were affected included Mr. Peter Adebola, who was banned for five years, Joseph Ashley-Osuzoka was banned for four years with a fine of N100,000, Joshua Sesan Adetiloye and Ms Mshelia Bittinger were banned for one year; Nkechi Azubuike, Victor Inyang, Hilary Eludu, and Andre Ewubare were slammed with two-year ban with a fine of N100,000 each while Anthony Nwozor was banned for one year with a fine of N100,000.
Also, Okumagba and Edozie were directed to pay N100,000 fine each while BGL Assets Management Limited and BGL Securities Limited were directed to pay N23.2 million and N10.1 million respectively. Another BGL company, BGL Plc, was directed to pay a fine of N5 million.
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