DG of SEC, Arunma Oteh
Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was yesterday told that the Vice-Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Chris Ifeanyi Azubuogu, returned his air tickets and estacodes to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) when he could not make the trip to the Dominican Republic for a scheduled conference.
The suspended chairman of the House Committee on Capital Market, Hon. Herman Hembe and his deputy, Azubuogu are being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly misappropriating the sum of $4,095 an equivalent of N600,000 estacodes given to them by SEC to travel to Dominican Republic for a conference.
At the resumed hearing of the matter before Justice Peter Kekemeke, an operative of the EFCC, Udoh Anietan, the second prosecution witness who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Chile Okoroma, told the court that the travelling ticket and estacode meant for the second accused person (Azubuogu) to travel for the conference which was between October 16 and 19, 2011, was given to him on the night of the October 19, through the clerk of the committee when the conference had ended.
On cross examination by counsel for the second accused person, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), who asked Udoh to look at exhibit J, a letter from All States Travels and Tours, he admitted that Azubuogu did not have any contact whatsoever with SEC as it related to the said conference.
He also admitted that the complaint against the first accused arose from the public hearing of March 15, 2012, adding that “in the course of investigation we retrieved documents from SEC which showed that the 2nd accused was also scheduled for the same conference they were supposed to embark on the journey from the 16-19th October 2011.
“Our investigation showed that the estacode meant for the second accused person was delivered to Femi Ogunsanya the Clerk of the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Markrt on October 19th, 2011 the day the conference was supposed to end.
“I was not present when Ogunsanya gave the money to the 2nd accused person but he admitted to receiving the money.
On whether he came across any document from SEC requesting that the accused persons return the estacodes he said he did not see any such letter and that there was no such letter from SEC.
Udoh also admitted that the Director-General of SEC Arunma Otteh, occupied a position in EFCC as according to him. “I am aware as the Act setting up the EFCC provides that there should be a representative from SEC, and the DG is representing SEC on the EFCC Board.”
On whether he was aware that the said $4,095 estacode which was delivered to Ogunsanya on the 19th was to enable the 2nd accused to attend the conference due to commence on the 17th he said “yes, that it is correct to say that he is unable to travel.”