Sanusi and the missing $20bn

on   /   in Finance, Viewpoint 5:59 pm   /   Comments

By Tony Navah Okonmah

The embattled CBN  Governor, Mr Lamido Sanusi has never cut a popular figure in the socio-economic/political environment of the nation’s polity. He has in the past pitted himself against unnecessary narcissist indulgences ranging from meddling in issues of national security regarding Boko Haram, to attacks on high profile and respectable Nigerian Christian leaders like Pastor Enoch Adeboye. As enraged as I was with his attack against Adeboye, I must put away sentiments and personal loyalty and my dislike for the CBN governor in considering a burning national issue of great international dimensions to our nation and its citizens. This is not about Sanusi, this is about an alleged missing $20b (twenty billion US dollars) from the nation’s account.

Information available from the parties to the issue stinks to high heavens and the Finance Minister and Coordinating  Minister of the Economy, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has demanded the whole truth about the matter. She is not the only one that wants the whole truth about the matter. All Nigerians want to know the whole truth about the matter and nothing must be swept under the carpet as usual.

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi

“The Ministry of Finance reconciliation showed a shortfall of $10.8bn in NNPC remittances to the federation account. After this, the conflicting claim continued with new figures such as $20bn being mentioned.” The other conflicting figures here I will presume, is Sanusi’s $20bn whistle blowing. It is interesting to note the reason given by the Minister for Information and National Orientation, Mr Labaran Maku for Mr Sanusi’s suspension as governor of the CBN. In his statement in the Vanguard publication of 26 February, 2014 he said:

“Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi made himself a whistle blower and a voodoo statistician feeding the country with unsubstantiated figures of missing funds.”

The two key statements from Maku’s  tirade were whistle blower and voodoo statistician feeding the country with unsubstantiated figures of missing funds. Looking at Sanusi as a whistle blower, Mr Maku claimed that as the manager of the nation’s monetary policies who advised the president on monetary issues, Sanusi should not have made himself a whistle blower. Interestingly, Maku acknowledged that there had been a long standing issue since 2012 regarding the CBN account which the tripartite involving the CBN governor, the president and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) had been looking into. Mr Maku was clever enough to deflate Mr Sanusi’s pin point of the exact account where the misappropriation occurred but failed to tell the nation the exact source of CBN’s account of 2012 that had issues with the audit of the FRCN. He did acknowledge that there had been communications between the CBN governor and the president since April 2013.

Let’s assume that the greater part of the communications between the president and  CBN governor was on how to resolve the missing funds from NNPC and the CBN governor was not getting the necessary cooperation from the president, and got increasingly frustrated on the next step forward. It should be expected that the next option available to the CBN governor was certainly to seek a natural arbiter, and by all standards and rule of law, the place he could only seek a natural arbiter in a matter involving himself as the highest authority of his department and the president of the country is the nation’s  Senate. In my opinion, Mr Sanusi was right to go to the Senate to report his concerns which he could not privately reach a resolution with the president.

On his cap as a voodoo statistician, no one (including Maku) could dispute the fact that a certain amount of money was missing from the federation account, whether it was actually $20bn as Mr Sanusi claimed, or it was $10.8bn which Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala admitted   was shortfall revealed her ministry’s reconciliation of the NNPC remittances to the federation account.

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