The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced its partnership with the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to tackle the issue of fraud in the Nigerian capital market.
The acting Director-General, SEC, Ms Mary Uduk, said the agreement was reached when the management of the commission met with the management team of the ICPC in Abuja on Wednesday.
She said the visit was necessary in order to seek collaboration and leverage the expertise and mandate of the ICPC in tackling corrupt practices, especially fraud, which had been prevalent in the capital market.
Uduk described fraud as a major obstacle to the actualisation of the objectives of the commission.
She said, “The objective of regulating the capital market is to protect investors, maintain fair, efficient and transparent market by ensuring integrity in the market place and by preventing fraudulent practices.
“This shared goal has necessitated collaboration with relevant anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies in a bid to ensure that the market is fair to all investors.”
She stated that while the ICPC was established to curb corruption in the public sector, SEC owed investors the duty to protect their investments, hence the need for the collaboration.
She noted that the capital market had witnessed incidences of fraud by market operators who converted and diverted investors funds and utilised same for the acquisition of personal properties within and outside Nigeria.
Uduk said, “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 stated that the commission was confident that creating awareness within the commission on relevant laws and regulations administered by the ICPC would project it as a law-abiding institution, aid the fight against market abuse and further boost investor confidence in the regulator and the market.
The, Chairman, ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, described the capital market as very important to any economy that aimed to grow.
He stated that the ICPC was ready to partner SEC in order for the nation to reap the benefits of a vibrant capital market.
He said, “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 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 stated that the technicality of the capital market underscored the need for mutual understanding between both organisations.
He said the ICPC would train SEC members of staff on issues relating to how to ensure that processes were not susceptible to corrupt practices while urging SEC to train ICPC members of staff on capital market issues.