Nigeria’s federal government has reinstated stock exchange regulatory chief Arunma Oteh, viewed by investors as a reformer hired to clean up the country’s capital markets, after an audit investigation cleared her of fraud but highlighted “lapses”.
Oteh, director-general of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), was appointed in 2010 in an effort to flush out the fraud and financial rot that sparked a banking crisis two years earlier, wiping 60 percent off the value of shares.
Market players feared reform efforts could be endangered if she was squeezed out permanently.
Oteh, suspended last month, was being investigated for her financial management of the Project 50 programme – an international conference in November last year to celebrate 50 years of capital markets in Africa’s second biggest economy.
“The purpose of this letter is to recall you from your compulsory leave and to caution that you must henceforth endeavour to diligently observe all extant rules,” said a letter to Oteh from the federal government secretary.
“I am to note that government has studied the report submitted by the external auditors (Price Waterhouse Coopers) and you are neither indicted for fraud nor criminal breach in any form. However, some administrative lapses were reported.”
Oteh was not immediately available for comment.
In recent months, Oteh has been the subject of a parliamentary inquiry into her conduct that her supporters say is politically motivated, during which she hit back at lawmakers she accused of trying to extort money from her.