February 8, 2023

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CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Falls Out With President Jonathan Over Multi-Billion Naira Fraud

5 min read

sanusi lamidoThere is a saying that someone who is being targeted for beating ought not walk in deserted places, but the reverse has been the case with the current governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido, who has garnered so many enemies over the years through his actions and inactions; and these enemies are dying to see his achievements as CBN governor go up in flames. The man who had for some time been mentioned in many controversial issues, we gathered, may have finally landed himself in serious trouble if the report coming out of the International Center for Investigative Reporting ICIR is anything to go by.

Despite his excesses the CBN governor has always had the support of the president but recently in a move that has surprised many, President Goodluck Jonathan queried the CBN boss over various infractions detected in the apex bank’s 2012 audited account.

The query, which covered 22 issues bordering on massive fraud at the bank, was sent to the governor on May 6, and the response, though expected back on May 8, was submitted to the President on May 21.

The query raised on the bank’s account, which its auditors, Ernst and Young, an international auditing firm, passed without officially signing, with only a comment that it complied with the CBN Act, and also issues on different financial improprieties such as investment of a huge amount of money in an Islamic bank in Malaysia without any guarantee of its generating returns.

The query also raised questions on other spending such as the write-off of about N3.5 billion CBN staff housing loan and the donation of about one billion naira to a political party to open up offices across the country. This donation, which was given under the special access item in the account, is believed to be geared towards furthering Sanusi’s alleged political ambition in the 2015 general elections.

It also touched on other issues such as refusal of the apex bank to consolidate in its account, the trillion debt owed by the Asset Management Company, AMCON, and the non-disclosure of the total liabilities through the bond floated by the company.

The governor was also asked to explain the discrepancies noted in the 2012 account regarding the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, a subsidiary of the apex bank.

Other issues included the controversial donations made to some higher institutions in the country. Investigations have shown that some of the donations were inflated in the bank’s books. For example, while the Bayero University Kano, BUK, was said to have collected N4billion, the school authorities claimed it got only N1billion.

The apex bank’s account became suspicious when the governor refused to submit it to the Financial Reporting Council, FRC, the body with the mandate to ascertain the compliance of companies with accounting standards, and the International Financial Reporting Standards, IFRS. Rather than submitting it to the body, the governor requested for seven years’ grace for the CBN to comply with FRC stipulations.

The audit report of the account, which was submitted directly to the president, was later forwarded to the economic adviser to the president for his appraisal. The official okayed the account and noted that it complied with the CBN Act.

However, unhappy with the economic adviser’s comment, President Jonathan was said to have returned the report to him and drew his attention to the refusal of the auditor to sign the account.

It should be known that this is not the first time the CBN account will be open to scrutiny under Sanusi but the bank has always hidden under its autonomy to stave off close inspection. The apex bank is on the first line charge and receives its appropriation directly from the federation account and exercises enormous financial autonomy.

This is the reason in May this year that the public accounts committee of the House of Representatives also had cause to query several expenditure items amounting to N4.7 billion in the CBN accounts. This included the N2.8 billion which the bank said it spent on the construction of its Port Harcourt branch.

The House in turn had worked with a report from the office of the auditor general of the federation which queried extravagant expenditure by the apex bank for which documents were not made available for verification.

Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Solomon Olamilekan at a meeting with officials of the bank alleged that there were indications that due process was not followed in expenditure as no documents were provided. Some of the bank transactions that the committee queried included the sums of N23 million and N50 million claimed to have been spent for the same purpose of renovating the governor’s official residence as well as N848 million spent on the purchase of a property from the National Planning Commission without any transaction agreement. However, like many probes of public institutions by the National Assembly, the matter appears not to have been pursued.

The N4 billion donation to BUK questioned in the president’s query had not even been known to the public. What had irked many Nigerians, including federal lawmakers, was the donation earlier in the year of N100 million to victims of terrorism in Kano, Sanusi’s hometown at a time when flood victims in the country are finding it hard to raise money and this to many Nigerians means that the CBN is being run by Sanusi as if it’s a personal business.

When the House of Representatives entertained a motion on misuse of public funds on the donation which degenerated into a rowdy session with many members accusing Sanusi of misuse of public funds, during the period a House of Representatives member from Yobe State, Goni Lawan, described Sanusi’s donation of N100 million to Kano State and another N25m gift to Madalla bomb blast victims as “an act of terrorism”, arguing that attacks in Yobe and Borno states did not attract the same monetary consolations from the CBN governor.

According to him, “When I first heard of the action of the CBN governor I was surprised. I asked whether Yobe and Borno states were not parts of Nigeria, as these attacks took place there first.”

Attempts to get the apex bank to react our story were unsuccessful. Over a week ago, when our reporter contacted the corporate affairs director of the CBN, Ugochukwu Okoroafor, and confronted him with the various issues noted in the CBN 2012 audited account, he claimed ignorance of any presidential query to the governor. “I don’t know what donation you are talking about. Was it done in cash? I’m not aware of the things you are saying. If you can provide me with this document that would help, because I haven’t seen it,” he said.

Okoroafor said he was out of town on an official assignment in Abia State and would not be back soon, while the mail asking him to respond to specific allegations about a write-off of about N3.5 billion CBN staff housing loan, donation of about N1 billion to a political party to open up offices across the country as well as the donation of N4 billion to the Bayero University Kano, among others, has not been replied.

Courtesy: International Centre for Investigative Reporting ICIR.

3 thoughts on “CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Falls Out With President Jonathan Over Multi-Billion Naira Fraud

  1. TALKING ABOUT Lamido sanusi’s imprudence where is that Oath of Office which not only stipulates but anticipates that public office holders should always display comportment, decorum/ trust and confidenciality in all that they do whilst in the service – even after they left office! I mean no where in Europe that a pbublic officer holder in Sanusi’s rank can be accepted to behave in such an irresponsible manner and still remain on his seat as the CBN Governor whatever is his grevance! Under normal circumstances, if such public officer is so much hut and derided they usually tender their resignation to prove their metle, intergrity and proficiancy! He appears to have adopted exactly what OBJ has done, showing a brazen disrespect for the office of the President and your Constitution and the NSS members appear to condone all these effusions in Nigeria, tells how the state of your consitutional affairs in Nigeria is very flawed! Signifies that my observation about dogs-in-the-manger and a ‘haven’ arrangement for Nigeria! That they are in both the politics and the public service ‘on cross purposes’ not sincerely commited for the growth of the country as such! It is therefore, part reason for that ‘National Orientation’ I proposed for IBB early enough in 1992 so as to take charge of this kind of psyches in the set ups across the board!

    [Said he: “Sometimes the President needs to exercise his powers. This time around, even though the President won’t bite anybody, he needs to show his teeth and perhaps bite. “
    ”Falsehood is not acceptable. The present case won’t affect the economy.

    Even though Sanusi insisted that $10 billion of the sum NNPC ought to have paid into the federation account is still missing, the difference between approximately $50 billion and $10 billion is like the difference between night and day. My position is that his later admission that it was a mistake and now said it was only $10 billion is like the action of a sinking man who is ready to hold on to any straw to prevent him from going under” he said.]

    You see, that is what I said (mean) in that ‘mekwantancy theory’ about Nigeria – Nigeria ekwen’meta! Also that Nigeria is almost in a QUANDARY afflicting even the most educated ones in the country, folks! I am just thinking would Sanusi make (raise) that false alarm if we had a seating Northern President and rather than show remourse he claims that the President can do him nothing and that he will remain where he is until June and we are all educated and looking for ways to organise Nigeria’s public office holders and the politicians to appear matured and principled in their ways! Whatever is his aim and or objective, he cannot do this in any European country – a government functionary to raise false alarm about the government he is serving rather then plead for forgiveness he says he’ll still remain in office! They are all playing to the gallery in Nigeria, folks!

    In all of that effusions I said earlier, that solutions for what might have prompted him to act in the mannar had been supplied and to see him act in this way after OBJ’s open letter suggests to an observer of Nigeria’s politics – there is an obvious conspiracy and envy in the air, folks, possibly about the success story to come this year about this administration in energy, highways, transportation, railways, women in office, agriculture, etc, etc – they have never seen it (affairs of Nigeria) so organised hitherto/ before this time, folks! The more worrying to them being that a lot more will be said this year about Jonathan’s administration by way of successes! Think about the 30 year olds in Nigeria: How many of you know that Nigeria once had trains and railway runing and we hear that there are no more queues in filling stations and the sometime stupendous long ‘tailbacks’ of vehicles on highways experienced during Christmas (festive) seasons is no more! They appear to be now hired by the oppositions in APC to throw brick bats on the administration!

    I’ll do something about those who left PDP in line with the Constitutional provision – they can’t just eat their cakes and still want (hope/ expect) to have them! About time somebody advised you people correctly on this matter, folks! Like I said last week, we appear now to be in the position of that girl-child on a playing field with her mates in the game of staccato – She goes on with her mates in that their palyful manner: ‘I pass here No way, and I pass here No, I pass here, there must be way!’ This is what it appears we are doing now in Nigeria – if is does not go perhaps was will! It seems we have approach in Nigeria, the Joseph and his brothers (Gen. 37: 3-4; Gen 39 & 40, 42.-47and David v Goliath situation (1Sa.17); (2Sa1. 5; 1-4) all indicating that the opposition (now including OBJ and Fani Kayode) want to stall what Dr. Jonathan’s administration is doing for Nigerians! My take on all of it is for Nigerians to BEWARE and remain undaunted so that we can see what is happening! Jonathan’s administration may well be the Bench Mark/ Yardstick for Nigerian political leadership, at end of the Day! This is what I think (suspect) the critics do not want to happen, folks! Ili wan’n bachawu fa – kankamba ne aboki na!

  2. He shuld be interrogated and serve his purnishment.. No bdy abov d law evn d so called Emir

  3. I think that Nigerian public office holder criminals in the likes of Lamido Sanusi and including himself had anything to be blamed at, since they have found Nigeria a level play ground for miscreants and a country not capable of handling their constitution effectively, I would have blamed the judiciary arm of our government and the executive, had it been there is practical government in Nigeria, I would have suggested Lamido Sanusi be brought to justice table and imprisoned if proper accounts of his office were not attained, but who will do that?, since the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary arms of our government of the federal republic of Nigeria decided to place corruption in their forefront of their daily activities, then who will probe who. The activities of our public office holders from executive in the federal down to state and local government in Nigeria is full of uncertainties. May God help Nigeria. My happiness is that whatever is their evil shall be against their generation.

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