President Goodluck Jonathan may have finally ordered the suspension of the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Lamido Sanusi for misconduct following the conclusion of investigations against him of financial recklessness, fraud and mismanagement which commenced last year.
Sanusi’s suspension was announced Thursday morning and he was swiftly replaced by his most senior deputy Sarah Alade, who will now serve in acting capacity.
The suspension of Sanusi, we can authoritatively report, has been long in coming and has come after an investigation into his activities since May, 2013 when President Jonathan first queried him.
The President in May, 2013 had queried Sanusi over a series of infractions. In an exclusive report on the presidential action published icirnigeria.org in August last year, we disclosed that the query concerned some 22 issues bothering on “massive fraud” at the apex bank.
Not satisfied with the CBN governor’s reply to the query, Jonathan ordered a full scale investigation. The outcome of the investigation and an earlier report submitted by the Financial Reporting Council might have informed Sanusi’s suspension.
One of the president’s grouse with the CBN governor was that he invested a huge amount of public funds in an Islamic bank in Malaysia without any guarantee of retuns on investment.
Sanusi was also queried for the controversial donations he made as CBN governor to some tertiary institutions in the country with some allegations that some of the alleged sums given to the institutions were actually misappropriated.
The president was also miffed that the CBN governor donated N1 billion to a political party and unilaterally wrote of a N3.5 billion housing loan debt owed by the apex bank’s workers.
It was alleged that CBN books indicated that it had donated N4 billion to the Bayero University, Kano, BUK, whereas the institution said it got only N1 billion.
The icirnigeria.org story had also indicated that suspicions were raised when the Sanusi refused to submits the audited account of the CBN to the Financial Reporting Council, the agency with the responsibility of ensuring compliance with accounting standards
Announcing Sanusi’s suspension in a pressed statement, the special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, said the move is to allow for investigation into “breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN.”
The statement read that: “Having taken special notice of reports of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and other investigating bodies, which indicate clearly that Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s tenure has been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct, which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline;
“Being also deeply concerned about far-reaching irregularities under Mallam Sanusi’s watch which have distracted the Central Bank away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate; and being determined to urgently re-position the Central Bank of Nigeria for greater efficiency, respect for due process and accountability, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has ordered the immediate suspension of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from the Office of Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“President Jonathan has further ordered that Mallam Sanusi should hand over to the most senior deputy governor of the CBN, Dr.Sarah Alade, who will serve as acting governor until the conclusion of on-going investigations into breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN.”
Sanusi, 52, who was due to leave his post in June, having declined to remain for a second five-year term, has been at loggerheads with his employers for some time.
Sanusi had appeared before a senate committee recently to defend his claims that $20 billion out of the money that should have accrued to the federal government from the sales of petroleum was missing.
The CBN governor had stoically maintained his stand despite the explanation offered by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The acting governor of the apex bank has been asked to focus on the core mandate of the bank and conduct its affairs with greater professionalism, prudence and propriety to restore domestic and international confidence in it.