News / Africa

Nigeria's Cenbank Governor to Challenge Suspension in Court

FILE - Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi gestures during an interview with Reuters in London.
FILE - Nigeria's central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi gestures during an interview with Reuters in London.
Nigeria's graft-fighting Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said on Friday he would go to court to challenge his suspension by the president, saying he did not want his job back but wanted to question the legality of the move.
President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi on Thursday, removing an increasingly outspoken critic of the government's record on tackling rampant corruption in Africa's top oil producer.
Since the suspension, presidential spokesman Reuben Abati has listed alleged procurement irregularities at the central bank during Sanusi's tenure, most of them dating back to 2011.
Sanusi told Reuters in a phone interview that he had already been in correspondence about queries concerning the bank's budget, and that he had been through all the processes outlined by the bureau of public procurement.
“I'm going to court to challenge the suspension,” he said. “I'm concerned about the precedent... I'm concerned about the idea that if you want to remove someone and you want a way around the law, you just write any kind of letter with all sorts of funny allegations and suspend the person.”
But he added he had no intention of retaking the post.
Sanusi, who was due to end his term in June, had been presenting evidence to parliament that he said showed the state oil company Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit $20 billion that it owed to federal government coffers. NNPC has repeatedly denied Sanusi's allegations.
“I'm not going back. I have had my last day at work. I'm very glad to hand this over,” he said.
Markets panicked over the suspension of a man whose policies are credited with stabilizing the naira and bringing inflation in Africa's second biggest economy to single digits.
The naira fell one percent against the dollar on Friday, although it has not moved since the central bank said it hoped to keep it within its current band of 150-160 to the dollar.
Longer term, it is unclear whether investors will be put off Nigeria, whose governance problems are balanced on the positive side by attractive prospects, including abundant energy reserves, a potentially huge consumer market and a fast-growing economy.
Sanusi said he never intended to be an anti-corruption crusader, but had been alarmed by the sheer extent of losses to the treasury by corruption at the state oil firm.
“I'm trying to get to the heart of collapsing oil revenues,” he said.
“My primary motive ... is that oil prices have not come down, oil output has not come down, [but] oil revenues are crashing, and therefore my job as central bank governor in managing the exchange rate and reserves is threatened.”
Some commentators, including twice president and former Jonathan mentor Olusegun Obasanjo, have said oil corruption now is worse than at any time since the end of military rule in 1999, a charge Jonathan dismisses as politically motivated.
“I haven't compared it to any other [presidential] terms, but I've certainly been alarmed by what I've seen,” Sanusi said.

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Comment Sorting
by: PETER OLUNIYI from: Lagos
February 23, 2014 10:37 AM
It is now very obvious that President Goodluck Johnathan is not only encouraging corruption but also promoting it. By suspending the Central Bank governor, he is telling every Nigeria to be corrupt.

by: Anuoluwapo Oladipo from: Nigeria
February 22, 2014 7:24 AM
If Sanusi wants to be hot, he should be hot, If Sanusi wanted to be cold he should be cold.
You cannot mix both and not be spewed out. There is corruption in NNPC no doubt about that and likewise there is corruption in Central Bank. It is a case of kettle calling pot black.
The way and manner he went about destroying Oceanic Bank, Intercontinental bank etc shows personal vendetta. That is why those banks were either acquired or nationalized without following due process. Sanusi weakened those banks further by appointing cronies as CEO's who destroyed those banks by granting undue waivers.
The man must answer for his sins and those friends he appointed as CEO's to those banks that went under must be charged to court. The unjust write-offs granted to their friends to the tune of billions of naira must also be revisited and reversed. I admonished the erstwhile sacked CEO's to approach the law courts and tender the state in which they left those banks before Sanusi's illegal intervention which was not backed by any law at that time.
I also admonish all ordinary shareholders who lost fortunes to seek a medium to challenge the atrocities committed by Sanusi Lamido led Central Bank in the court of law.
Secondly the mismanagement or should I say the taking undue advantage of loop holes in the CBN act makes Sanusi an immoral man. How on earth can someone justify spending over one billion naira to feed police officers attached to CBN and private guards. This is rather absurd and can only be nothing except corruption. What is the justification behind doling out money to boko aram victims in Kano without appropriation, investing Nigerian tax payers money in an Islamic Bank in Malaysia, Flying and distributing currency all over Nigeria using frivolous Airlines that probably Sanusi has interest in among others.
How can a man given the mandate to manage Nigeria's Central Bank not be accountable by being corrupt? Those useless awards that Central Bank was buying at ridiculous amount of naira only portraits inferiority complex.
While there is the urgent need to sanitize the NNPC, there is also an equal need to sanitize the Central Bank and put upright unbiased people at the helm of affairs.
I make bold to say that in other for the Federal Government of Nigeria not to be seen as partisan, the following ministers and directors must also be shown the way out of government;
(i) Minister for Petroleum.
(ii) NNPC Managing Director
(iii) Finance Minister.

by: Gabriel Umoh from: Port Harcourt
February 21, 2014 4:01 PM
The allegations against Mr. Sanusi are indeed grave and we await the outcome of the investigations. His dabbling into political issues and anti government utterances has not helped his cause. As reported, he was openly hobnobbing with opposition party members and doling out huge questionable donations and contracts without due process. To cap it, he virtually thumbed his nose at the President and dared to be fired. Now he got his wish.

by: Ajakayi Ija
February 21, 2014 11:27 AM
It is shocking indeed that Nigeria's president Jonathan failed to order an investigation into the allegation by the Central Bank governor. Twenty billion dollars is about a fifth of the country's annual oil revenue.

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