Uche Usim, Abuja
Amidst plans by the National Assembly to amend the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) Act 2, its Chairman, Siaka Isaiah Idoko-Akoh, has objected to the provision which seeks to plant the body under the direct supervision of the National Judicial Council (NJC), saying the move will dilute its essential character as a fast-track executive court and ultimately defeat the original intent of its establishment.
He also rejected the provision for it to assume and exercise criminal jurisdiction with the argument that rigorous observance of criminal procedure rules during such trials could delay the prompt resolution of civil cases to enhance business and economic development.
In a presentation at the public hearing on the “Bill to Amend the Investments and Securities Act (ISA 2007) and Matters Connected Therewith”, hosted by the Senate Committee on Capital Market at the weekend, the IST Chairman, Idoko-Akoh, differed with the draft provision to turn the IST to a single judge court sitting in the various zones with only lawyers as members, arguing that a collegiate court sitting as mixed panels of lawyers and specialised experts is better equipped to deal with the subject matter of stock market transactions and also eliminate the likelihood of corruption in justice delivery.
He, however, appealed to the legislators to strengthen the capital market with a new law that can stand the test of time. He also appealed to other stakeholders like the regulators, self-regulatory organisations (SROs), shareholders, investors and market operators to resist the proposed legislation.
“We make this call bearing in mind the acrimonious disagreements that arose during the amendments to the ISA (1999) when each of the capital market institutions preferred to preserve its individual corporate interests,” he stated, adding that ever since the enactment of ISA (2007), the CEOs, boards and managements of stakeholder agencies have changed many times over.
“But the market is still there. Therefore, the challenge before all of us today is to come out with a law that will promote the market beyond our present tenures,” he stated.
He commended the present crop of managers whose initiatives have led to the establishment of new exchange intermediaries like the Financial Markets Dealers Quotes (FMDQ OTC) and the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), adding that there was still a lot of room to deepen the market and enhance its contribution to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).