News: Jonathan surrounded by incompetent people – Sanusi

Jonathan and Sanusi
Goodluck and Sanusi

The suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, on Sunday described President Goodluck Jonathan  as a simple man trying to do well  but  surrounded  by “extremely incompetent and fraudulent” aides.

Sanusi   was suspended by   Jonathan on Thursday over alleged financial misconduct, an action viewed by many analysts as politically-motivated.

In an interview with the Agence France Presse  in Lagos, Sanusi said many of the people advising Jonathan  were sycophants, who did  not speak frankly about the extent of corruption in government.

He said, “When you sit with  the President, he appears a nice and  simple person who is trying   to do his best.

“His greatest failing obviously is that he is surrounded by people who are extremely incompetent, who are extremely fraudulent and whom he trusts.”

Sanusi also faulted the seizure of his international passport by security agents, claiming that it  “was the beginning of  infringement on my fundamental human rights.”

Regarding the allegations against him, the suspended CBN chief said when he  heard of a report condemning his performance, he  wrote to Jonathan in “June or July” asking if an explanation was needed, but received no reply.

But he added that the  first time he was formally notified of the allegations was the day (last Thursday) he was suspended.

He argued that  it would be too simple to describe his removal as payback for his attacks on the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

“Since 2009, I have been annoying the government… There are   people who think I have the wrong friends;  people who think maybe I have not distanced myself enough from people who are seen to be opposition figures,” he further said.

Sanusi argued that  the extent of  graft in the NNPC might  have reached an historic high.

“I think everybody has known that NNPC is rotten. I don’t think it has ever been as bad as this,” he told  the AFP.

According to Sanusi, the so-called kerosene subsidy money spent by the Federal Government in fact pays for “private jets…yachts… and expensive property(of some public office holders)  in Beverly Hills (United States) and Switzerland.”

Sanusi,who   ruled out running for elected office,  said he  still had  a future in public service.

He  voiced his  readiness to face any attacks that might  come from those committed to preserving the status.

“If I am sacrificed in whatever way, my freedom or my life… if it does lead to better accountability, it will be well worth it,” the Kano State-born banker added.

But just as Sanusi spoke,the  Presidency  said it was in possession of different kinds of petitions against him.

It said the petitions from within and outside the  CBN  centred on the same line of breaches by him.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr.  Reuben Abati, said this in an exclusive interview with one of our correspondents.

Abati, who was  responding to a question on whether the Presidency was in possession of a petition from Dr. Erastus Akingbola, on alleged fraudulent takeover of Intercontinental Bank,   said what was contained in the government  official record   was that Sanusi ran the CBN aground.

He said the government’s letter of suspension sent to  him could be likened to a vote of no  confidence in  him.

The Presidential aide  said, “There are  all kinds of petition  against  the suspended CBN  governors not just from Akingbola. There were so  many allegations along the same line of breaches against  him.

“There were complaints by people from the CBN and that is why the letter suspending him was very clear. In fact, that  letter was like passing a vote of no confidence in Sanusi’s  tenure.

“That is what is in the official record of the government:  that he ran the place aground;  that he ran the place with  impunity;  that he ran the place recklessly;  that he ran the place without due recourse to its  board .”

When asked if the government will encourage whoever that would succeed Sanusi    to review his  (Sanusi) policies, Abati replied,    “I don’t think we have reached that stage yet.

“The name of the proposed CBN governor has been sent to the National  Assembly. The National Assembly has yet to make a  pronouncement on it. It is still at the level of nomination.

“So the Executive will not jump the gun by beginning to talk about what whoever becomes the CBN governor should do or not  do. What we are assuring Nigerians and international investors is that the country’s monetary policy will remain  stable. Investors have nothing to fear.”

 When further asked why the government spared the CBN deputy  governors despite the fact that the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria recommended that they should be sacked alongside the governor, Abati said investigation was still  ongoing.

He said the objective of  the government was not to shut down the  bank.

He said, “Investigations are still continuing. In fact, if you read that report again, the first paragraph under recommendations asked for detailed investigations. “It is just commonsensical that if there is such a general  indictment, the objective of government is not to shut down  the CBN. In a situation like this, it makes sense that head  is usually the symbol and investigations are continuing.

“It is not as if Sanusi has been removed, he has just been suspended to allow for further investigation. You can be sure that if any other official is indicted, such a person  will not be protected.”
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