SEC Investigates Five Capital Market Operators over Investors Complaints

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating complaints received against five capital market operators (CMOs). The CMOs are Bytofel Securities and Trust Limited, Jenkens Investment Limited, Securities Solutions Limited, Wizetrade Capital & Asset Management Limited and Elyon Assets Management Limited. Although SEC did not disclose the nature of complaints, it may not be unconnected with unauthorised sale of clients shares among others.

SEC has always restated its commitment to investors protection by ensuring that infractions committed against them are redressed. Some operators have either been suspended or banned from operating in the market over various market infractions. The recent case was the banning of suspension of BGL Plc and its sponsored individuals from operating in the market following complaints by investors.

SEC conducted an investigation into the activities of the BGL Group to ascertain the authenticity of the complaints. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Commission confirmed the complaints of the affected 35 persons and also observed that the BGL group had acted in violation of the provisions Sections 38, 60 (1), 61 (1), 160 and 161 (1) of the ISA 2007. Other infractions observed during the investigation were breach of the provisions of Rules 3 (4), 22 (4), 34 (1e), 65 (5) and 60 (1f) of the SEC Rules and Regulations.

Dissatisfied with the findings of the investigation and the inability of the BGL group to resolve the complaints, the Commission suspended the Group Managing Director, Mr. Albert Okumagba and some other officers as well as invited the Group along with thirty one (31) other persons to appear before the Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC) of the commission.

Upon the conclusion of the proceedings a year later, SEC APC banned Okumagba and his deputy, Chibundu Edozie, from carrying out capital market activities for 20 years. However, the BGL Group proceeded to the Federal High Court and instituted three cases.

The first case sought the suspension and sanctions pronounced on them by the Commission on the ground inter alia that the executive management committee of the commission is not the competent body to pronounce such sanctions. But the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had dismissed three cases filed against the Commission by BGL Plc, its sponsored individuals and subsidiaries.

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