Presidential Spokesman,Dr Reuben Abati addressed journalisy on Thursday in Abuja after the order by President Goodluck Jonathan suspending Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as Governor Central Bank of Nigeria.Excerpts:
“People who talk about illegality, they are referring to Second 11 Sub Second 2 of the CBN Act. Now under that provision, the reference is to removal of the CBN governor by the President and there is a qualification there saying that provided that removal is supported by 2/3rd majority of the Senate.
“But what the President has done, is not removal, it is suspension. You know you do not read the provision in isolation, you read them together and the interpretation Act, if you read all of these provisions together, the trite point is that he who hires can also has the power to suspend.
“So if you have the power to appoint, you also have the power to suspend. What has happened is not removal, it is suspension and that is perfectly within the purview of the law.”
On if Sanusi decides to go to court, Abati replied “Your question is speculative, If he goes to court, he is a free citizen. The country is governed by law and individuals have the right to express themselves under the constitution. So, we will not speculate about what has not happened.
“I think nobody needs to be anxious this decision has not been taken on the country’s monetary policy, the monetary policy of the country remains the same and there is stability in the system and so investors in the Nigerian economy have no reason whatsoever to fear.
“That decision was taken only with regards to internal governance issue within the Central bank. In the statement, issues raised were very clear that there are issues of internal governance. Government remains committed to the stability of the economy, stability of the naira and stability of the country’s monetary policies.
“The lady who has taken over in acting capacity has been long within the system and so everyone can remain assured that there will be stability and that the institution will remain very strong,
“The second concern that has been expressed has to do with the issue of financial recklessness. I will like to say that there were issues of financial recklessness and unprofessional conduct but that did not happen today. It is not as if this is a sudden development, but that it’s been a long process dating back to last year.
“Last year when the CBN submitted its financial statement for the year ended 31sr December 2012, a query was raised about some of the issues in the financial statement and the CBN governor was asked to offer some clarification with regards to these issues. This was around first week May 2013. A response came from the CBN which was then forwarded to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria. And the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria by its act is empowered to review the accounts of the CBN and if there is course for investigation to conduct such investigation. And if there is need also to invite other bodies to further investigate, the law makes allowance for that.
“And that took place. And some of the outcomes of that process relates to the issues raised about financial recklessness.
“If I may just draw attention to a few of them: the persistent refusal and negligence to comply with public procurement act in the procurement practices of the CBN; unlawful expenditure by the CBN on intervention projects across the country deploying huge somes of money as the CBN did under the watch of Mallam Sanusi without appropriation and outside the CBN’s statutory mandate. It is said that the expenditure of public funds of course by any organ of government must be based on clear legal mandate, prudent constrain and overriding nation interest. And then financial infraction and act of financial recklessness committed by the CBN and reflected in its audited financial statement for 2012.
“The review by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria rather than alley the fears of government further confirmed concerns about the untidy manner in which the affairs of the CBN were conducted'”
Will Sanusi be arrested?,Abati said “I’m not aware of any directive that he should be arrested as at this moment. But of course you know that under the enabling act of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, where an indictment is established and all that, the law could take its course but as at this moment I’m not aware of any directive that he should be arrested.”