Since it was created in 2003, aggrieved investors have filed 256 cases and 35 complaints before the Investments and Securities Tribunal (IST) making monetary claims amounting to N351.9 billion.
At a stakeholders’ forum organised by the tribunal on the theme: “Sanitizing Nigerian Capital Market and Bringing Justice to the Door step of the People”, its Chairman Dr Ngozi Chianakwalam said the claims were a manifestation of growing investors’ confidence in the capital market.
IST is an independent specialized judicial body established under Section 274 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) of 2007 to interpret and adjudicate on all capital market and investment controversies arising under the act.
”Much as these figures are commendable, the real triumph for us is its implications for investors’ confidence in the market, as it is evident that market index is gradually on an upward trend, after the immediate past global meltdown”.
Chianakwalam believes the tribunal has been able to establish benchmarks for regulatory practices in investigation and punishment for market abuses with a view to boosting investors confidence in the market through its landmark verdicts like Nova Securities versus Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to her, the tribunal has opened zonal offices in Lagos, Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt, for easy access by investors.
According to her: “We are not unaware of the urgent need to put necessary structures in place with a view to restoring investors’ confidence in Nigeria capital market, which confidence has not been helped by the well known market collapse of the past few years.
”Restoring investors’ confidence in our capital market calls for a consolidation of the accomplishments of the tribunal and a continual strengthening of the adjudicatory framework of the capital market.’’
Chairman, Capital Market Solicitors’ Association, Uche Obi, in a paper, “The Nigerian Capital Market Institutional Framework for Justice Delivery and Development: Investments and Securities Tribunal of Nigeria Perspective” suggested the creation of more divisions of the tribunal all over the country where proceedings should be held daily.
He also recommended that funding arrangements of the tribunal should be akin to that of Securities and Exchange Commission in order to ensure independence and capacity for growth and development.
“This is also the time to begin the process of amending the Investments and Securities Act 2007 to expand the jurisdiction of the tribunal. This would place the Tribunal in a position to develop a more robust jurisprudence on the capital market and SEC will stand out very clearly as an impartial regulator in terms of its involvement with dispute settlement as a regulatory tool in the capital market,” he canvassed.
Also speaking, Director-General of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, said strengthening the IST, greatly help in healing the capital market of the wounds it sustained during the 2008 global melt down as well as boost investors’ confidence.