Uche Usim, Abuja
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed on Thursday gave reasons for the incessant sacking of the Investment and Securities Tribunal (IST) panel members, saying that the principal reason was because they have been sources of embarrassment to the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the latest IST board, she further listed infighting among members, lack of industrial harmony and series of complaints bordering maladministration as other challenges plaguing the tribunal that necessitate government’s intervention.
She lamented that “this has been the bane of the tribunal and a source of embarrassment not only for the ministry of finance but for the government in general”.
As a result of the squabbles, the finance minister said “the tribunal has in the last five years suffered many setbacks due largely to poor administration, this setbacks have blurred if not completely wiped out the modest achievements that the tribunal has recorded”.
She reminded members of the tribunal that “in November 2015 the tribunal was dissolved and the chairman and his members relieved of their jobs, a new panel of the tribunal which includes many of the members that are here seated was inaugurated in 2017 again barely two years into the tenor the chairman of that tribunal was removed”.
Specifically, the finance minister told the Tribunal Chairman that his “responsibility is to provide good leadership that would galvanize the human and material resources at the tribunal’s disposal on the path of stability towards achieving its mandate in a consistent manner”.
She called on “all members of the IST to cooperate with the new chairman, so that the vision of the tribunal which is ‘to be a world class capital market tribunal that is fair and transparent, dispensing justice without fear or favour,’ could be attained”.
Responding, the IST Chairman, Barrister Amos Isaac Azi assured the finance minister that “the teething issue of restiveness has been addressed since he resumed duty.
According to the IST Chairman, “the place is calm and the staff have become very supportive”.
Speaking on the performance of the IST since inception in 2003, Amos Azi stated that the IST has “given judgment in the value of asset of over ₦844billion and within the last tribunal when this one was set up in 2017 to date, they have given decisions in monetary value over ₦28billion”.
The tribunal he said “has not failed in its adjudicatory responsibility, it has carried out its assignment with candor and integrity and intends to improve on what has been on ground”.
With regards to administrative issues, Amos Azi said the tribunal “is working to address legal related issues and I am very happy to report that we have made very meaningful progress”.
He stated that “the mutual distrust between staff and the members of tribunal has been eroded, the members of the tribunal are working as a family so that we will achieve the goal of establishing the tribunal”.