No fewer than 27 Nigerian capital market operators, who were referred to the security agencies by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over infractions in the market may have unwittingly been let off the hook, following the inability of the market regulator to get feedback from the law enforcement agencies regarding their cases.
Some of the infractions for which the affected operators were reported to security agencies involved failure to declare dividend, fraudulent conduct, illegal operation, and un-registered operation dating back to 2011.
Some of the affected market operators listed in documents seen by Businessamlive, included AAA Stockbrokers Limited, Beachgrove Securities Limited, Gold Shield Investments, Dynamic Trust Securities Limited and Crown Trust Ltd. Also involved were, Akitorch Securities Limited, Core Function and Asset Limited, Brettonwoods Ltd, among others.
Although, a good number of these companies have been closed down, they appeared to have escaped the long arms of the law as neither of the security agencies responsible for handling financial crimes and to which they were reported is believed to be keeping track of the defaulting operators.
A stockbroker who preferred to be anonymous said that though most of the affected companies were no longer in operation, shutting their doors was not sufficient punishment, especially when investors’ funds were involved.
He said that SEC, which is responsible for investors’ protection ought to have followed the case up, more so when it lodged the cases with the security agencies.
Such murky situation does not augur well for the image of the investing public, the market and the country as a whole, he said.
Murnir Gwarzo, suspended director-general of SEC had hinted last year that though the Commission was not aware of the cases, there was nothing the Commission could do if they had reported the matter to the law enforcement agencies.
According to him, SEC could only report such cases to security agencies, but cannot enforce it as the law that sets up the commission does not empower it to do so.
Attempts to follow up the cases with the police in Lagos failed as they rather directed Business a.m. to Abuja, but this did not yield any concrete information on the matter.
A police source, who did not want to be identified, said the issue should be directed to SEC, which has information as to the date and the actual police station/formation that the cases were referred.
Analysts and market watchers are worried that the matter might be swept under the carpet with nobody brought to answer for the infractions while the investing public which had lost monies as a result of the action of these operators continue to suffer.