PABLO PICASSO once said that “everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo’s statement might find expression in men of God who consistently tell their followers to always be students of dream.
According to these men of God, whatever eventually comes to be first took form in the spiritual realm. Today, I am persuaded to agree with them for this is the case with suspended governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
Sanusi imagined that becoming the governor of the apex bank, the dream of becoming the next president of the country was just a matter of time. At the twilight of his tenure as the governor of the apex Bank, he started throwing stones from his glass house at the Central Business District of Abuja oblivious of the fact that the house was fragile from foundation to the roof top.
His biggest stone, thus far, was the letter to the Presidency revealing that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has not been sincere in the remittance of revenue accruable to it to the national coffers. Disturbed that the letter was not getting the attention he expected, he decided to leak what was supposed to be an exchange between him and the country’s President to the public to show that he meant well for revealing the shenanigans going on at the inner offices of NNPC. Sanusi succeeded in making himself a hero by appearing as a saint in the clan of corrupt persons.
However, before he could drop his garb of the leader of the puritanical clan, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria came to the public with the alleged misappropriation of the funds left in the care of Sanusi, detailing how he has been spending the funds without recourse to due process. When the council blew open the lid on the financial recklessness of the former CBN governor, the findings dwarfed whatever misdeed that Sanusi accused the NNPC of. The Council, in its report, said that the former governor of CBN persistently refused to comply with the Public Procurement Act in the procurement practices of the Central Bank of Nigeria, a refusal, it said, smacked of an intention to commit fraud.
Apart from that, the Council in the report revealed that the former CBN boss unlawfully spent N163 billion on intervention projects across the country. As of the time of writing this piece, our puritanical Sanusi has not been able to employ the same vigour he exhibited in revealing the shady deals in NNPC in telling the public what happened to such huge amount of money. So who is blacker in the game of the kettle and the pot- Sanusi or officials of NNPC?
The famous report on the activities of Sanusi is replete with other financial infractions and acts of financial recklessness on the part of the former CBN boss as evidenced in the Central Bank audited financial statements of 2012. Sanusi was accused of breaching the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed by the CBN and other Deposit Money Banks on Banking Resolution Sinking Fund. The report revealed that a Board of Trustees, BOT, to manage the fund has not been constituted since 2010 when it was established while the apex bank has unlawfully continued to utilise the fund for certain operations without approval of the said BOT.
What is confusing here is that one cannot really say at what point Sanusi started to wear the garb of an anti-corruption crusader. He couldn’t possibly be a money guzzler and at the same time come to pretend to be the detergent needed to launder the dirty linens of NNPC or any other agency for that matter.
The report has many shocking facts like: “Facility Management rose to N7034 billion in 2012 from N5.751 billion in 2011. Foreign bank accounts closed offshore were still operational in the General Ledger for over six months after they have been confirmed as closed accounts by the offshore banks; the Know-Your-Customer policy is not properly followed by the CBN to the extent that the CBN has unknown customer with account balance of N1.423 billion since 2008. The CBN claims that they are taking steps to obtain the required details regarding the address of the customer.
“Wastefulness as found in training and travel expenses: N9.24 billion in 2012 up from N7.65 billion in 2011; expenses on ATM offsite policy change came to N1.045 billion and expenses on Non-Interest Banking N1.359 billion in 2012 up from N0.977 billion in 2011; the CBN is still very heavy on expenses on ‘Project Eagles’, spending N606 million in 2012 up from N63 million in 2011; and, expenses on newspapers, books and periodicals, excluding CBN’s publications, is N1.678 billion in 2012 up from N1.670 billion in 2011.”
The Council, in its report, said that “the CBN had additional brought forward to General Reserve Fund of N16,031 billion in 2012 but proceeded on a voyage of indefensible expenses in 2012 characterised by inexplicable increases in some heads of expenditure during the year; questionable write-off of N40 billion loans of a bank; false claim by the CBN to have paid to Emirate Airline N0.511 billion, Wing AirlineN0425 billion and Associated Airline N1.025 billion to distribute currency by air nationwide.”
These revelations are so mind-boggling, prompting a friend from his clan to ask why the former boss of the apex bank has been busy dancing clean in the arena of corruption. My friend’s question stems from the fact that if the apex bank could spend that much in the distribution of currency across the nation the entire purse of the nation would have been depleted in the production of the currency.
The report of the council has put a big question mark on the morality of Sanusi to judge others who obviously copied his style of handling public money. What will happen to all these billions of naira that have not been accounted for by Sanusi as the boss of the apex bank? Our anti-graft czar agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has a very big role to play here. Without prodding them, I think they should get cracking in unravelling the destinations of the missing monies revealed by Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN.
Until Sanusi clears all that is raised in the report by the Council, his romance with morality should be put on hold because he lacks what it takes to date morality.
*Mr. NICHOLAS IKEJANI a public affairs analyst, wrote from Port Harcourt, Rivers State.