By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Presidency yesterday explained that the suspension of governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was not related to witch hunt, but alleged cases of impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and gross abuse of and noncompliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
According to the Presidency in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, Sanusi’s sack by President Goodluck Jonathan was also not a deviation from the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.
Okupe who explained that the issues that culminated into the suspension of the CBN Governor dates back to April 2013 following the submission of the CBN audited accounts for the year that ended on December 31st 2012 and which was submitted to the President by the Apex bank.
The statement read, “there were several grievous issues bothering on impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and gross abuse of and noncompliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007 by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
“This caused Mr President to issue a 22-paragraph query to the suspended CBN Governor on the 4th of May 2013 and the subsequent written explanation by Mallam Sanusi which was forwarded to the President on the 22nd of May 2013. After painstaking analysis and examination, the response was forwarded to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria for further scrutiny and professional advice.
“The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria thereafter forwarded a 13-page response to Mr President with various critical observations and far-reaching recommendations. One of the recommendations states thus “ Your Excellency may wish to exercise the powers conferred on Mr President by Section 11(2) (f) of the CBN ACT 2007 or invoke Section 11 (2) (c) of the said Act and cause the Governor and Deputy Governors to cease from holding office in the CBN.
“It is also important to note the unrestrained manner, recklessness and impunity with which the CBN Governor had governed the apex bank in the last few years. In 2013 alone, the suspended CBN Governor single-handedly made spurious donations and awarded questionable contracts totaling 163 billion Naira (over 1 billion US dollars) to various institutions without recourse to the President as stipulated by Section 7 sub-section 5(a) of the CBN Act.
Most unfortunate is the fact that of the 63 projects listed under the Corporate Social Responsibility of the CBN, ONLY 3 of the contracts above 1 billion Naira were referred to the bureau of Public Procurement as required by law.
“It was based on this and other recommendations contained in the said report and after further consultations among stakeholders that Mr President in his wisdom and in the interest of probity, accountability and in order to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the Nations apex bank, decided to take the appropriate decision to place Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on immediate suspension.
“This action of Mr President is coming after a painstaking appraisal and investigation of all issues involved. The fact that this has occurred at the same period that Mr Sanusi accused the NNPC of non- remittance of 20 billion dollars to the Federation Account does NOT in any way derogate from the grave infractions and illegalities discovered in the audit report of the CBN and its operations.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians should be assured that Government will go to any length to ensure that Mallam Sansui’s allegations against the NNPC are fully and conclusively investigated and if anyone is found culpable, they will be subjected to the full weight of the law.”