N44m bribery scandal: Hembe, ex-panel chair, faces EFCC today.

The embattled former chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market, Herman Hembe, will today appear before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the N44 million bribery allegation by the Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms Arunma Oteh.

Oteh at the ongoing public hearing on the manifest cause of the near collapse of the capital market by the committee alleged that Hembe demanded for N44 million from SEC to finance the investigation.

She also accused Hembe of failing to attend a conference at Dominican Republic despite collecting estacode and flight tickets from the commission.

Hembe denied the allegations claiming that it was SEC instead that iniated moves to partly fund the public hearing with N30 million.

The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday set up an eight-man ad-hoc committee to continue with the public hearing after the Hembe committee was disbanded. The committee on Ethics and Privileges was mandated to investigate Oteh’s bribery allegation against Hembe and his committee.

But briefing journalists yesterday, Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed disclosed that Hembe would formally appear before the EFCC today to answer questions regarding the allegations raised against him.

He said “tomorrow (today), Hembe will appear before the EFCC. He is prepared to go through the right channel to clear his name.”

When contacted on phone, Hembe confirmed that he had a date with EFCC but refused to say if he would be visiting the commission today.

“I said it earlier that I have invited EFCC to investigate the allegation and they are ready to do that,” he said, stressing, “I am a young man, I can’t gloss over such allegation because it will hurt my future if I do. I will not stop at that; I will go to court to clear my name.”

An official of the anti-corruption body who did not want to be named, confirmed that Hembe would be interrogated by the body. The EFCC official, however, declined comments on whether Oteh would also be interviewed today by the body.

 

He said: “I am aware that the interrogation of Hembe will start today. Both the House and the man himself want an investigation into the allegation.” Asked the venue and time of the interrogation, he said: “I know it is here in Abuja, I also know that he will visit us in the morning of tomorrow (Today).”

Meanwhile, Mohammed said the public hearing, which would resume on Tuesday, would be aired live contrary to reports that it would be held in secret. He said “because we know that the public deserves to know what is happening, the public hearing will be aired live.”

He noted that all the parties involved in the bribery controversy would be asked to stop making public utterances to avoid raising further dust on the matter. He said the interest of the House was on how to find lasting solution to the problem facing the capital market. He stressed that the new panel would carry out its assignment within three weeks.

CREDIT: SUN NEWS

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