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Why Sanusi Shunned FRC Panel Invitation

CBN-SanusiSuspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on Thursday shunned the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) panel sitting in Lagos, accusing it of bias, against the rule of law and in bad faith.

The Council had invited Sanusi alongside the deputy governors of the apex bank to appear before it yesterday as part of the ongoing investigations into the activities of the CBN. The deputy governors are Mr. Kingsley Moghalu, Alhaji Suleiman Barau, Mr. Tunde Lemo (who recently retired as deputy governor of operations) and the acting governor of the central bank, Dr (Mrs) Sarah Alade.

Also invited to appear before the council were the Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BoI), Ms. Evelyn Oputu, Mr. Babatunde Dayo and Gabriel Okpeh.

Information Nigeria reports that while every other invitee showed up at the Elephant House venue of the sitting, the suspended CBN governor and Alade did not show up.

Sanusi, in a letter written on his behalf by his counsel, Kola Awodein (SAN) said “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”.

The letter, which was dated March 25, 2014, and addressed to the executive secretary and Chief Executive Officer, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Mr. Jim Obazee, said “Our Client received the letter of March 14, 2014 from the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC), wherein he was invited to appear and explain his involvement in the activities of the CBN between 2011 and 2012. We refer to our client’s response of March 16, 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 This Day Newspaper and page 34 of the Punch Newspaper (as well as other newspapers) on March 24, 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 June 7, 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’.

“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”.

Subsequent upon the receipt of his letter, at the end of yesterday’s sitting, Mr. Obazee announced that the panel had been suspended till further notice.

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