In what appears to be a tale of the hunter being the hunted, Lamido Sanusi, governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has been suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan. Sanusi who has been having a running battle with the petroleum ministry and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over his allegations of $20 billion missing oil money, was suspended for allegedly engaging in financial recklessness and misconduct.
“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 characterized 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. 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,” read a statement by Reuben Abati, special adviser to the president (media & publicity).
The statement said the presidency was concerned about sweeping irregularities by CBN under Sanusi, “which have distracted the Central Bank away from the pursuit and achievement of its statutory mandate,” adding that the action was taken in order to urgently re-position the apex bank for greater efficiency, respect for due process and accountability.
The president also appointed Sarah Alade to serve as acting governor until the conclusion of on-going investigations into alleged breaches of enabling laws, due process and mandate of the CBN. Alade is expected 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 the country’s apex bank.”
Irked by the leakage of a letter Sanusi wrote to the president alleging non-remittance of $49.8 billion oil revenue, Jonathan had, last month, reportedly asked Sanusi to resign. But Sanusi who denied leaking the letter was said to have reminded the president that he could only be removed by two-thirds of the Senate as required by law. He also charged the president to deal with the issues raised in the letter rather than the fact of its leakage given the fact that the unremitted sum had been found to be $10.8 billion.
At a hearing by the Senate Committee on Finance, thereafter, Sanusi insisted that there was an outstanding $20 billion the NNPC was yet to account for. Sanusi who was appointed CBN governor in 2009 is billed to complete his tenure in June this year.