A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, has declared his readiness to face investigations into his tenure at the top bank.
Mr. Sanusi’s comments came as a response to a call by Femi Falana, a senior lawyer, urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate alleged “diversion” of government funds by the CBN, under Mr. Sanusi.
Mr. Falana also called for the probe of Mr. Sanusi’s predecessor, Charles Soludo.
“Sometime in 2006, former Central Bank Governor, Profesor Chukwuma Soludo removed $7 billion from the nation’s external reserves and doled it out to 14 Nigerian banks. Two years later, the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (the current Emir of Kano) also gave a bailout of N600 billion to the same banks.
The request of some civil society organisations for the recovery of the huge loan of $7 billion and N600 billion from the commercial banks has been ignored by the management of the Central Bank,” Mr. Falana said in a statement on Saturday.
“In the Appropriation Act, 2011, the sum of N245 billion was earmarked for fuel subsidy. In violation of the Act, the Central Bank of Nigeria headed by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi paid the sum of N2.5 trillion to a cabal of fuel importers. Following our petition the EFCC conducted an investigation into the fraud but the exercise was compromised due to pressure from the former Jonathan administration. Even though the EFCC has charged some of the suspects to court the investigation ought to be reopened with a view to getting to the root of the monumental fraud.”
Mr. Sanusi said he was always available at any time to answer questions regarding his stewardship at the central bank.
On fuel subsidy, he said “The Central Bank does not pay and has never paid subsidy to marketers and the only circumstance this would happen is the Central Bank acting as banker to Government and carrying out instructions to make payments from Government accounts”.
“There is absolutely no circumstance under which the CBN would have disbursed its own money for payment of subsidy or disbursed money on behalf of Government without authorization,” Mr. Sanusi said late Saturday.
He said the CBN was at the “forefront of the effort to expose the corruption in the subsidy regime and put a stop to it”.
He called allegation on bank bailouts “strange”.
“The money was not given to bank shareholders and management but was provided to ensure that ordinary Nigerians and other depositors who kept their money in banks did not lose their savings as a result of the mismanagement of these banks and bad loans,” he said.
“The money remains a loan to those banks and is to be repaid from a combination of sources over the years. These include sale of collateral backing non-performing loans held by AMCON, recovery of those loans, sale of share of the banks held by AMCON and a sinking fund into which all banks are to make annual contributions.
“This will continue no matter how long it takes until the banking industry repays all amounts due to AMCON and the bondholders are repaid.
“All of this is in line with the law setting up AMCON and the purpose of setting it up in the first place.
“The resolution of the Nigerian banking crisis and the AMCON model are actually being held up as an example of how to deal with severe and systemic banking crisis. Not a single depositor in any Nigerian bank lost a single kobo due precisely to these arrangements.”