Sanusi Drags FRC to Court
Fresh reports reaching Newsdiaryonline Thursday evening said Suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has in fact dragged the FRC before the Federal High Court,Lagos.
The originating summons said inter alia “The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria of Elephant Cement House,3rd Floor, Assbifi Road, Alausa Ikeja Lagos;The Executive Secretary of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria of Elephant Cement House,3rd Floor, Assbifi Road, Alausa Ikeja Lagos Within 7 days after service of this summons on them, inclusive of the day of such service, cause an appearance to be entered for them to this summons which is issued upon application of Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (the Plaintiff) of c/o his Counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein SAN, Dr. Konyinsola Ajayi SAN, Mr. AB Mahmoud SAN; Prof. Yemi Osibajo SAN; c/o of Olaniwun Ajayi LP of Plot L2 Banana Island, Lagos who claims that the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria has acted in bad faith and ultra vires its statutorily conferred powers and functions; and that his right of fair hearing, as espoused by the rules Natural Justice,and as constitutionally guaranteed under Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As amended) has been, is being and is likely to be violated; and for the determination of the following questions:
“Whether in light of the provisions of Sections 7, 8, and 62 of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act 2011 the Defendants are conferred with the statutory power to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria and Plaintiff, other than for purposes related to or connected with its statutorily prescribed powers and functions.
“Whether, having not given the Plaintiff the opportunity to make representations to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria before the formulation of the Briefing Note dated 07.06.2013 to the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Defendants in bad faith, concluded in the said Briefing Note that the Plaintiff be (x) sacked immediately from office; and (y) criminally prosecuted for financial crimes; the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria accorded the Plaintiff fair hearing in consonance with the rules of natural justice and the provisions of Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria ( As Amended).
“Whether, subsequent to the conduct of the Defendants set out in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, the Defendants can validly in the contemplation of law, conduct an independent, fair, objective and unbiased investigation of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Plaintiff.
The reliefs sought by the Claimant include :”A DECLARATION that the Defendants acted ultra vires their powers and functions as statutorily conferred on them under the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act 2011;
“A DECLARATION that the conduct of the Defendants were biased and acted in contravention of the rules of Natural Justice and the constitutional right to fair hearing in the preparation of the Briefing Note and making the recommendations contained therein to the President without first granting the Plaintiff an opportunity to be heard.
“A DECLARATION that the Defendants’ failure, refusal and neglect to accord the Plaintiff the right to be heard before the preparation of the Briefing Note and making the recommendations for his removal from office to the President was capricious, arbitrary and without basis, and constitute a gross violation the rules of Natural Justice and constitutional right of fair hearing.
“A DECLARATION that the Defendant does not have the vires or power to conduct the purported investigation into the activities of the Plaintiff and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“AN ORDER of this Honourable Court restraining the Defendants and their agents, privies, servants and officers or anyone acting through, by or under its authority or pursuant to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act from conducting and/or continuing any investigation, inquiry, hearing or proceeding against the Central Bank of Nigeria and Plaintiff in relation to any matter whatsoever.
“AND FOR SUCH FURTHER OR OTHER ORDER(S) as this honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstance.
In his affidavit ,Sanusi said “I was appointed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria on 10th day of June 2009 and my tenure of office is scheduled to expire on 9th day of June 2014.
“It has come to my knowledge that the 1st Defendants issued a Briefing Note on the Central Bank of Nigeria Audited Financial Statement for year ended 31st December 2012, to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 07.06.2013 [Briefing Note]. Now shown to me, attached and marked “Exhibit 1” is the Briefing Note.
“In the said Briefing Note, the Defendants made several allegations against the CBN leadership including allegations of financial recklessness, fraud, incompetence, misconduct, wastefulness, abuse of due process, and misrepresentation.
“Subsequent to the Briefing Note issued by the Defendants to the President, the President by a letter dated 19.02.2014 from the office of the Secretary to the Government of Federation, suspended me from office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria [Suspension Letter]. Now shown to me, attached and marked as Exhibit 2 is a copy of the Suspension Letter.
“I responded to the allegation contained in the Briefing Note by my letter dated 18.03.2014 and I have since been invited by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria by a letter dated 14.03.14 and publications contained in several widely circulated national dailies to appear before it in the Investigation of the Central Bank Nigeria. Now shown to me, attached and marked as Exhibit 3 is a copy of the Invitation Letter.
“I was informed by my counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein SAN in a meeting at the offices of Olaniwun Ajayi LP at Plot L2 401 close Banana Island Ikoyi Lagos at about 4:00 pm on 24 March 2014 and I verily believe him that:
“The 1st Defendant does not have the powers to investigate the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Plaintiff;
“The investigative powers of the 1st Defendant under its Act is not at large and can only be in the context of its general functions and objectives; and
“In the Briefing Note, the Defendants made conclusions which are in excess of the powers of the Defendants.
“Fair hearing and Bad faith
“I was not called upon by the Defendants to provide clarifications of the several allegations made in the Briefing Note before same was forwarded to the President.
“The Defendants in the Briefing Note recommended my immediate dismissed from office and institution of criminal proceedings against me.
“In several paragraphs of the Briefing Note the Defendant made several statements scathing conclusions in relation to my administration of the affairs of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Specifically:
“The defendant in paragraph 3.12 of the Briefing Note, stated that “ the CBN made deposit for shares in the Bank of Industry to the tune of 4.947 billion since September 2007 (as at December 2012 the shares have not been issued to the CBN… the leadership of the CBN is not worried about it…”
“In paragraph 3.13, the Defendant stated that “the CBN claimed it paid the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM Plc) N 38.233 Billion in 2011 for ‘printing of Bank Notes’ whereas the entire turnover of NSPMC (Group) is N 29.370 Billion.”
“In paragraph 3.13(a) the defendant alleged that the Central Bank under my leadership was fraudulent when it stated that “…a closer look at the breakdown shows that this is just an expense head that is used for fraudulent activities as they have items such as profit from the sale of diesel….”
“I depose to this affidavit bona fide, conscientiously believing same to be true and in accordance with the Oaths Act.
Suspended CBN Governor,Sanusi Declines Invitation,Accuses FRC OF Bias
Suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria,Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has declined the invitation to appear before the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria,FRC which has been sitting at Alausa,Ikeja –Lagos since Wednesday.He accused the Council of “bias, breach of the rules of natural justice, absence of statutory power, violation of the rule of law, and conduct prejudicial to good public administration and the special position of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
In a letter to the FRC dated 25 March 2014, Sanusi’s counsel, Kola Awodein, SAN said inter alia “Whilst our Client is not averse to an objective investigation by an appropriate and impartial authority into the activities of the CBN during his tenure as Governor, or into his own activities as a citizen, our Client is constrained to decline the FRC’s invitation on the basis of bias, breach of the rules of natural justice, absence of statutory power, violation of the rule of law, and conduct prejudicial to good public administration and the special position of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
Sanusi’s counsel who addressed the letter to The Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer,Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, said “Our Client received the letter of 14 March 2014 from the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), wherein he was invited to appear before the FRC to explain his involvement in the activities of the CBN between 2011 and 2012. We refer to our Client’s response of 16 March 2014 to the FRC by which he sought clarity on the specific activities of the CBN sought to be investigated, to which he is yet to receive a response.
“Our Client was thus surprised to see the FRC’s advertorial on page 51 of ThisDay Newspaper and page 34 of the Punch Newspaper (as well as other newspapers) on 24 March 2014 inviting him in respect of the same subject matter. We take the view that this advertorial is in bad faith, just as it is calculated to embarrass and disparage our Client. We are also of the firm view that this advertorial is evidence of an avowed intent to act prejudicially.
“At all events, it is appalling that our Client is now being invited after the FRC had arrived at false and malicious conclusions in its Briefing Note dated 7 June 2013 to the President (Briefing Note). Those conclusions include:“Incompetence or acting outside the object clause of the CBN”;“Nonchalance”;“Fraudulent activities”; “Wastefulness”;“Abuse of due process”; and“Deliberate efforts to misrepresent facts”.
“In addition, you recommended to the President that His Excellency cause our Client and the Deputy Governors of the CBN to “… cease from holding office in the CBN…so that the opposition to the Federal Government does not take advantage of the information and use it to attack the government…”
“It is evident from the foregoing conclusions and recommendations that the FRC has pre-judged what it now purports to investigate, thereby compromising the integrity of any such investigation.
“Moreover, the credibility of the purported investigation is further undermined by the fact that in reaching the decisions contained in the Briefing Note, the FRC neither heard nor provided our Client with the opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations that led to the unfounded conclusions contained therein.
“Above all, it is obvious from your enabling statute, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria Act 2011, in particular Sections 7, 8, 11, 25, 28, 58(2) and 62 thereof, the FRC lacks the authority and the powers to conduct the investigation it seeks to undertake.
It was gathered that the suspended CBN Governor was actually in Kano on Thursday even as the FRC meeting continued in Lagos.
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