SEC was extremely surprised by the article appearing in your esteemed FT newspaper which attempts to portray SEC’s responsible action in retaining private counsel to represent its institutional interest in a court of law to be portrayed as an irregular practice raising serious concern without knowing the facts and circumstances surrounding that particular case.
The objective of this article appears to be motivated by certain interested parties in this matter. Please be informed that the SEC is well within its powers and will not hesitate to take any suitable action which will in its view best serve the institutional interests of the SEC, according to the facts and circumstances of any matter. It is a matter of interest to note that the SEC even in the past has retained private counsel when the situation so demanded.
The SEC cautions the newspaper against being used as a ‘pawn’ in the mechanizations of certain interested elements and to be responsible as to the accuracy of facts appearing in your articles. Your article which states that SEC has to retain the Attorney General as it legal counsel and in the event of opting for a private counsel, needs AG’s Department clearance is misleading and incorrect. Whilst the SEC reiterates that it will always consult the Hon. Attorney General in respect of all its matters in the performance of its objects and duties, attempts such as this made by certain interested parties to obstruct certain important measures taken by the SEC as a matter of importance and urgency will be viewed by the SEC as an obstruction in the performance of its duties.
As per the Volume One of the Establishment Code under Chapter 33, public officers and Departments are required to retain Attorney General’s Department. There is also a time-tested Cabinet circular which requires corporations and statutory bodies such as the SEC to retain the counsel of AG’s Department. Whilst SEC may maintain that in the past private counsel had been retained, Daily FT referred to the latest instance and given the guidelines enshrined in the Establishment Code and Cabinet Circular, SEC retaining private counsel is viewed as a breach. Furthermore SEC will also be answerable to Auditor General Department’s queries with regard to payment of fees for private counsel (usually exorbitant) at the expense of public funds. Our report also referred to concerns expressed by some of the Commissioners of SEC over the decision to retain private counsel.
Apart from above pointers, Daily FT also rejects improper and incorrect insinuations made in SEC’s statement.