SANUSI Lamido Sanusi, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is doing his best to live up to his billing as a banker and human rights activist. He is already in court to challenge his suspension from office by President Goodluck Jonathan. While he is contending that the president is not empowered either by the constitution or the CBN’s enabling Act to suspend him, Jonathan, on the other hand, says he has absolute power to do what he did as the appointing and supervising authority of the bank. The positions of the two gladiators have obviously thrown up a constitutional issue which only the courts will have the final say.
Even as Nigerians await the court’s final decision on the issue, Sanusi is doing everything to give Nigerians the impression that his suspension is a case of political persecution for blowing the whistle to alert the nation on the massive corruption going on in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. Many Nigerians have already fallen for this propaganda by making some misguided statements on the issue. By so doing, they tend to befuddle a more serious issue that had prompted his suspension in the first place. The real issue at stake is the incriminating report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, the body mandated to audit the accounts of the CBN. In the report which the FRCN submitted to the president on June 7, 2013, there were allegations of fraud, financial indiscipline and wastefulness against Sanusi in the CBN 2012 audited financial statement. The report recommended that Sanusi and his deputy governors should be suspended on grounds of financial recklessness to enable a thorough investigation to be carried out on the allegations. The questions that beg for answers here are: Why didn’t President Jonathan suspend Sanusi along with the CBN deputy governors as recommended by the FRCN? Could it be that Sanusi was the only target of the Presidency for daring to blow the whistle on the corruption in the NNPC? And was the whistle- blowing a face – saving strategy to win public sympathy? Why did he not blow it before the FRCN report and the presidential query? Why has he been giving conflicting figures on what the NNPC owes to the nation if the touted figures were products of pain-staking research?
The 13-page report was said to have emanated from Sanusi’s response to the president’s query issued to him early in 2013 over his reckless donations nationwide, security and travel expenses. Sanusi was said to have displayed incompetence, fraud, wastefulness, abuse of due process and deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts in his reply to the president’s query. The FRCN report had accused him of violating financial regulations of the bank in his activities without even caring how such violations could affect it. The questions there are: If the CBN governor is both the chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors of the bank and serious allegations of fraud and reckless expenditure among others, are made against him and his deputies who are also members of the board, can there be any meaningful investigation carried out against them? Can they, sitting on the board, adopt any report that indicts them? There lies the dilemma that only the court can resolve. This and many other issues are what our cover story this week seeks to examine. The story entitled: “Sanusi, Activist in the Dock,” was crafted by Anayo Ezugwu, our dependable reporter, who also examined the Sanusi years in the CBN and the various reforms he brought into the banking industry. It is a compendium of some sort. Happy reading.
— Mar. 10, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT