The Financial Reporting Council punishes PREMIUM TIMES over its reporting on the suspension of CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido, and the role of the Council in it all.
In a brazen display of censorship, the spokesperson of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), Mack Ogbamosa, on Thursday barred PREMIUM TIMES reporter from the venue of his agency’s investigation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
As participants in the proceeding arrived, Mr. Ogbamosa handpicked only reporters he personally recognised or from media organisations he believed to be friendly to his agency.
First, with the help of stern looking policemen and officials of the Department of Secret Service (DSS), Mr. Ogbamosa prevented all reporters who had gathered at the venue to report the proceeding from gaining access to the room.
But after a while, he handpicked only reporters from three television stations – government-owned Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Channels Television and Television Continental (TVC) – to be allowed into the room.
Armed with a list of preferred media houses, Mr Ogbamosa later emerged from the room where the investigation was being held, handed the list to a police officer who called out names of media establishments from it and allowed their reporters in.
Mr Ogbamosa’s desire to exclude this newspaper from the coverage of the event became more apparent after he allowed the third set of reporters in after about an hour into the proceeding and yet PREMIUM TIMES reporter was not allowed to into the room.
After waiting outside for few hours, our reporter attempted to go into the room but was stopped by police officers and an SSS official who asked him to get approval from Mr. Ogbamosa before he would be allowed in.
At about 2 p.m., a reporter, who apparently knew Mr. Ogbamosa well, arrived but was stopped by security officials from entering the room.
He immediately telephoned Mr. Ogbamosa who came out and asked the security officials to allow the latecomer in.
At that point, PREMIUM TIMES reporter tried one more time to get in, all his pleas were ignored by Mr. Ogbamosa who only said, “This reporter I’ve dealt with your issue, na.”
Mr. Ogbamosa refusal to allow our reporter into the venue of the investigation might not be unconnected with a series of stories our paper has published about the suspension of the outgoing CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido, and the role of the Financial Reporting Council in the entire saga.
Last Thursday, we reported that the FRC benefited from the CBN intervention spending for which the CBN governor is being disparaged.
We visited the Council’s Abuja office to demand explanations regarding why the FRC failed to disclose in its books that it got N500 million donation from the CBN and the bankers committee. Officials there declined to comment and were uncooperative.
Ironically, the FRC report indicted Mr Sanusi for financial recklessness over a similar kinds of spending.
The FRC received the N500 million purportedly for the construction of its International Financial Reporting Standards, Academy. A PREMIUM TIMES investigation revealed that the fund did not reflect in the Council’s budget and reports. It remains unclear how the money was spent.
Our investigation also showed that there was no appropriation for the academy in the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 federal budgets. The budgets did not also reflect the donations the FRC got for the project.
Besides, the FRC also failed to provide a list of donors and their contributions at a N2 billion fund raising event it organised for the proposed academy.