Thursday, September 10, 2015 7:35 pm
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested Albert Okumagba, Group Managing Director (GMD), BGL Plc, a security trading company over offences bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretences.
Wilson Uwujaren, spokesperson for the anti graft agency, told this magazine that Okumagba who was arrested on Wednesday night is still being grilled by the Commission and will be charged to court at the end of investigations. Uwajaren said he could not say whether the top stockbroker will be granted bail.
It will be recalled that the Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory body of Nigeria capital market, suspended the Okumagba-led management of BGL Plc about four months ago and appointed an interim management team for the group. This followed some complaints made against the company. SEC also suspended BGL Securities Limited and its subsidiaries from all Capital market activities.
The regulatory body said its action followed detailed investigation into the various complaints received from investors against subsidiaries of BGL Group, one of the biggest dealers on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange.
“That 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”, SEC said in the statement.
It further revealed that it had referred all suspicious transactions observed in the course of the investigation to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for further investigation while BGL Asset Management Limited, BGL Capital Limited and BGL Securities Limited and all individuals involved in the management of the various companies have been referred to the SEC Administrative Proceedings Committee (APC).
However, the company on 27 May, obtained an interim injunction by Justice Saliu Saidu restraining SEC from suspending it from participating in capital market activities while on July 21, 2015, it obtained another interim injunction to stop the plan by the regulatory body to hear the various petitions against it.
A Federal High Court had earlier on Thursday in Lagos refused to grant an ex parte application filed by Okumagba, to stop EFCC from inviting or arresting him over alleged capital market malpractices. SEC had in its objection to the application accused Okumagba and his company of being indebted to investors to the tune of about N5.8bn as of 2 June 2015. According to the regulatory body, the debt was returned on investments at maturity which BGL allegedly failed to return to capital market investors. SEC said it received about 40 petitions written against BGL on the failure to return the investments at maturity which it investigated.
SEC said its investigations of the petitions revealed that BGL Asset Management Limited acted contrary to its mandate by transferring funds received from the investing public to BGL Plc without engaging in any form of Fund/Portfolio Management.” The regulatory body further noted that BGL was already running at a loss with severe liquidity problems with over N48 billion losses as of December 2014.