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Divergent reactions trail Sanusi’s suspension from CBN

… Allegations against NNPC is misleading, embarrassing — NLC
…Suspension, dangerous to economic devt — PENGASSAN

sanusi-interviewThe decision by the Presidency to suspend Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for official impropriety has been described as a welcome development, and is good for the country’s financial markets and the economy in general.

This is the view of some energy, economic and financial experts who spoke to Sweetcrude, even as some others, condemned the suspension, saying it is a pointer to the fact that the Presidency is not sincere in the fight against corruption.

The latter’s opinion is against the backdrop of Sanusi’s comments over the non-remittance of about $20 billion into the Federation Account, by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Specifically, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, said that in saner climes, Sanusi was expected to have turned in his letter of resignation the next day for getting the figures wrong, thereby misleading the public and for embarrassing the government.

The NLC maintained that the activities and utterances of Sanusi, before he was suspended, showed that he did not do his homework well, saying he ought to have resigned earlier.

Abdulwaheed Omar, NLC President, said, “By the time the dust had settled, Sanusi had quoted three different figures as the alleged sum not accounted for by NNPC, earning him a quiet rebuke by the Senate which is investigating the alleged fraud.

“In saner climes, Sanusi was expected to have turned in his letter of resignation the next day for getting the figures wrong, for misleading the public and for embarrassing the government,  his excuse of poor communication between the relevant institutions in question notwithstanding. The least expected of him was a public apology. We are not sure if he did either of the two until his removal was announced in a typical Nigerian-government style.”

Omar, however, condemned the sudden removal of the former CBN governor. He said, “While we  hold Sanusi accountable for not doing his homework properly  before going public on an issue as sensitive as this, especially considering the sum involved, we believe the process of his removal is patently flawed and ridicules due process as well as contemptuous of the Act establishing the CBN.

It is capable of discouraging future whistle blowers in government as well as casting a pall on government’s fight against corruption, none of which is good for the image of the government at the moment.”

Agreeing, Mr. David Adonri, Chief Executive Officer, Lambeth Trust and Investment Limited, wondered why no individual in the Ministry of Petroleum has been suspended for proper investigations to be conducted in spite of grievous allegations of kerosene subsidy fraud.

He said, “I believe CBN is an institution with a functioning Board. The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, may need to prove that Sanusi acted beyond his authority and failed to obtain approval of the Board where necessary before undertaking those financial activities over which he is being accused of recklessness.

“If there is evidence that Sanusi stole public funds, his prosecution will be more justified than a suspension geared towards silencing him amidst ongoing investigation of monumental fraud in NNPC.

“A central bank whose fate rests in the hands of politicians especially in a corruption-infested economy will certainly under deliver. A Central Bank whose key personnel are prone to harassment by politicians cannot be professionally competent. Lamido Sanusi’s suspension as CBN Governor is a very dangerous precedent for financial sector stability.”

Also speaking, Mr. Seyi Gambo, National Public Relations Officer, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, PENGASSAN, said the timing of the suspension is wrong and shows sign of frustration and desperation.

He said, “Mr. President is not inspiring the populace that voted him to power. He is more loyal to the cabal around him than the electorate that not only campaigned but voted for him. How will the story have fitted if Sanusi tenure was allowed to finish, then he is persecuted?

“The voice of the people is the voice of God. Mr. President should understand that if he performs and fights corruption, no amount of opposition can ridicule him. But this action on Sanusi is like undermining the whistle blower. You can’t explain it away with a Presidential chat.”

But Dr. Austin Nweze, an Economist and lecturer at the Lagos Business School, Pan Atlantic University, argued that Sanusi’s suspension was good for the financial markets and the economy in general. He maintained that Sanusi’s actions amounted to sabotaging the government that he was supposed to work with in good faith.

He said, “I have been saying this overtime that the kind of central bank Governor that Nigeria needs should be a person of good character, professional of high repute.

“I was in a forum where the Minister of Finance complained and lamented that the CBN Governor never consulted her on the issue of NNPC and Federation Account before going to the press. Such a Governor should not be there. The earlier he goes the better for the nation.”


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