Why Sanusi was suspended from office, says Nigerian government

Sanusi lamido sanusi
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

The suspended CBN governor was accused of restless

The Federal Government on Thursday gave reasons why the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Lamido Sanusi, was suspended from office by President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a seven-page letter titled ‘Suspension From Office’, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Pius Anyim, traced Mr. Sanusi’s ordeal to the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, on the audited financial statement of the CBN for the year ended December 2012, and other related issues.

Mr. Anyim, who said he was conveying the decision of the President, said the suspension of Mr. Sanusi was predicated on the loss of confidence in his ability to lead the CBN to achieve its mandate as enshrined in the CBN Act.

The government expressed concern that under Mr. Sanusi’s watch, the CBN had carried out its functions in a manner characterised by disregard for due process and accountability as exemplified by various acts of financial recklessness and unprofessional conduct.

Noting that such conducts were inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a CBN propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline, Mr. Anyim highlighted the various allegations to buttress the suspension of the governor. These included persistent refusal to comply with the Public Procurement Act, PPA in the CBN procurement activities; unlawful expenditure on “intervention projects” across the country; financial infractions and acts of financial recklessness as reflected in the bank’s audited statement for 2012 and questionable write-off of N40 billion loans.

Mr. Anyim noted that the government had observed that the CBN had over the years engaged in the procurement of goods, works and services worth several billions of naira each year without compliance with the provisions of the PPA.

By refusing to be bound by the law, the SGF said the CBN not only acted unlawfully, but persistently promoted a governance regime characterised by financial recklessness, waste and impunity.

On intervention projects, the SGF said the CBN executed about 63 such projects nationwide on which over N163 billion was spent, pointing out that it was inexcusable for any agency of government to spend such huge sums of money without appropriation and outside its mandate.

The SGF stated that following the query to Mr. Sanusi in the wake of the FRCN’s review of the CBN audited statement, his response, rather than allay fears about the state of the country’s economy, confirmed concerns about the untidy manner the CBN was conducted its affairs.

Mr. Anyim drew attention to the observation that the CBN could not prepare its financial statements based on international financial reporting standards, IFRS. He said the laxity by the bank, apart from questioning its capacity to uphold corporate governance in the financial sector, was sending wrong signals to investors at home and abroad.

Government also accused Mr. Sanusi of causing the CBN to acquire 7 per cent shares of International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation of Malaysia valued at about N743 million contrary to government’s laws forbidding the bank to go into such transactions without due approval of the President.

Though the CBN brought forward about N16.031 billion to General Reserve Fund in 2012, the SGF said the bank decided to embark on indefensible inflated expenses, including N3.086 billion on “promotional activities” and N20.202 billion on legal and professional fees in 2011.

Other expenses that defied prudence and accountability, the SGF stated, included those for private guards and lunch for policemen, which gulped N1.257 billion in 2012.

However, Mr. Sanusi in an interview he granted cable news network television, CNBC Africa, from Niamey, the Nigerien capital, said there was nothing new about the allegations. He alleged that his suspension was based on his concerns around oil revenues and corruption in the oil sector.

“I am not bothered about the suspension as an individual. I am proud about my achievements and legacies. If the suspension is going to bring back the missing $20 billion (N3.3 trillion), then it is fine,” he said.

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