Mr. Sanusi says the Council’s report lacked integrity since the FRCN neither gave him fair hearing, nor allowed him the opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations against him
The suspended Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, on Thursday shunned the much-publicized invitation by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, for him to appear before it to answer questions on some aspects of his tenure between 2011 and 2012.
Reports of Mr. Sanusi’s decision to decline the invitation came as this paper learnt that the suspended CBN governor had sued the FRCN for defaming his character.
In a letter to the Executive Secretary of FRCN, Jim Obazee, to explain why he would not honour the Council’s invitation, Counsel to Mr. Sanusi, Kola Awodein, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said the invitation was not only in bad faith, but premeditated to embarrass and disparage his client.
President Goodluck Jonathan had suspended Mr. Sanusi from office on February 21, 2014 following the recommendation by the Council, which accused the CBN, under his leadership, of financial recklessness.
The recommendations followed the Council’s review of Mr. Sanusi’s response to its report on the audited financial statement of the CBN for the year ended December 2012 and other related issues, which it described as unsatisfactory.
Following the receipt of the Council’s invitation on March 14, 2014, Mr. Sanusi said he responded two days later seeking clarification on the specific activities of the CBN the FRCN was investigating.
He said since no response was forthcoming from the Council, he did not see any need to honour the invitation, noting that he was surprised to see advertorials in newspapers and other media publicizing the invitation.
Describing the adverts as evidence of the Council’s avowed intent to act prejudicially, Mr. Sanusi said it was appalling that he was being invited after the Council had arrived at the “false and malicious conclusions” in its Briefing Note of June 7, 2013, on which the President relied to suspend him from office.
Criticizing the Council’s recommendation for his suspension from office along with the Deputy Governors, Mr. Sanusi noted that the opinion that, if they remained in office, they would take advantage of the information at their disposal to attack government, amounted to pre-judgment of the issues it was investigating.
He said the Council’s report lacked integrity since the FRCN neither gave him fair hearing, nor allowed him the opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations contained in the Briefing Note to the President.
Besides, he said a review of Sections 7, 8, 11, 25, 28, 58(2) and 62 of the FRC Act 2011 revealed that the Council lacked the authority and powers to conduct the investigation it was seeking to undertake.
Mr. Sanusi said he was not afraid of any objective investigation by an appropriate and impartial authority into either the activities of the CBN during his tenure, or his activities as a citizen.
He said he was however constrained to decline the FRC’s invitation for some compelling reasons.
He gave the reasons as bias, breach of the rules of natural justice, absence of statutory powers, violation of the rule of law, and the Council’s attempt to carry out an investigation considered prejudicial to good public administration and the special position of the CBN.
At the venue where Mr. Sanusi was being expected to appear in Lagos, officials of the Council were busy playing hide and seek with reporters, as only representatives of media houses they believe are sympathetic to their position were allowed access.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter at the venue was blocked from entering.
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