The management of Nigeria’s capital market apex regulator, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), on Wednesday, announced the suspension of BGL Plc and its subsidiaries, just as it barred the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Albert Okumagba from any activity under the purview.
The commission also referred all suspicious transactions observed in the course of the investigation by members of the Interim Management Board it set up, have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for further investigation.
This, the commission said in a statement, was the outcome of a meeting of its Executive Management Committee on Tuesday May 19, 2015 to consider the report of a detailed investigation into the various complaints received from investors against subsidiaries of the Group.
The committee also directed that BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited be suspended from all capital market activities and that all sponsored individuals of these subsidiaries whose particulars are contained in the commission’s record as at December 2014 be suspended from performing any capital market activity.
The statement reads: “Mr. Albert Okumagba, the Group Managing Director of BGL Group, should cease to be a registered sponsored individual with the commission following the withdrawal of the registration of BGL Plc as a capital market operator. He is therefore no longer entitled to carryout capital market activities.”
Also, BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited and “all individuals involved in the management of the said companies have been referred to the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) which will give all parties to the cases a fair hearing”.
The SEC appointed interim management is led by Oladipo Aina, a former President of the CIS like Okumagba, who stepped down following announcement of the commission’s action. Other members are: Abubakar Ambursa, Mrs. Hafsat Rufai, Ms. Temitayo Siyanbola and Ms. Tonne Ladipo-Ajayi.
Reacting to the companies suspension, the National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, said the decision is a welcome development, but called on the SEC to release full details of its investigations.
His words: “SEC should not give room to speculation. They should tell us the outcome of their investigation, otherwise there may be sympathy for Okumagba BGL and this may not be good for the sector. We also want to know what will be the fate of investors of these companies because we believe that they should not be punished unduly”.
President of the Progressive shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, said the decision is a welcome development and it will also help the nation’s capital market in its quest to build a more robust and strong market.
His words: “There is no investors that will not be happy at his decision. Too me, I don’t have any quarrel with the decision taken by SEC because it is the sector’s regulator and we cannot question its decision. If the suspension stays, that means people who do business with BGL have lost their investment.
“We cannot throw a baby away with the bad water. This decision will affect the sector. That means that SEC don’t have confidence in the interim administrators it appointed to run the company. Nevertheless, it will be good news if SEC could trace all stolen money that led to the problem of BGL”.
Okumagba, three weeks ago, resigned from his position as the President of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS), while the governing council of the institute approved the request.