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Nigeria: Bank Official's Suspension Not Linked to Corruption Allegation

An aide to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan says last week's suspension of the country's central bank governor was not related to allegations of corruption involving the state-owned oil company.

Lamido Sanusi told lawmakers earlier this month that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) had not accounted for $20 billion in revenue.

Mr. Jonathan's spokesman Reuben Abati, told VOA on Tuesday that the president's decision to suspend Sanusi was the result of an investigation that began a year ago and included about 22 allegations.



"The Financial Reporting Council reported back to the federal government alleging many breaches, in particular accusing the CBN under Sanusi's watch of fraud, of incompetence, of financial recklessness, and these are the issues to be further investigated. And on the basis of that, the presidency had to ask Mr. Sanusi to step aside."



Abati said Mr. Jonathan is not trying to compromise an ongoing investigation by the legislature, and is committed to integrity and accountability.

Analysts and opposition politicians have said the suspension was politically motivated for raising concerns about the oil revenue. Sanusi and non-government organizations have accused Nigeria's oil industry of not accounting for large sums of public money.



The government denies that the suspension was a political move, and says Sanusi could be later reinstated.

Mr. Jonathan said Monday that Sanusi has reported differing sums for the discrepancy, including an initial $50 billion figure that prompted alarm and calls from abroad.



"Later on he said it is $20 billion. I don't know which to believe anyway whether it's $49.8 [billion] or $12 [billion] or $20 [billion], but whatever. Even if it's 1 kobo or $1 that disappeared from NNPC, we'll find out, that I guarantee, but while doing that we must follow the due process."



Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer and has one of the largest economies on the continent.

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