The Federal Government on Thursday assured local and international investors in the Nigerian economy that the suspension of the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, will not affect the nations’ monetary policy.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, made the clarification at a media briefing at the Presidential Villa.
Abati said the assurance became necessary to reduce the reported anxiety in the monetary market after the announcement of the suspension of Sanusi.
He said that the Federal Government remained committed to the stability of the economy and would not take any action that would jeopardise the achievements recorded so far.
Abati assured local and international investors in the economy that there was nothing to be afraid of.
He said the suspension of Sanusi was purely an internal issue bordering on findings of financial recklessness, misconduct and gross abuse of office against him.
“There have been a lot of speculations in both the local and foreign media and there has been expression of anxiety.
“Nobody needs to be anxious, this decision has not been taken with regards to the country’s monetary policy.
“The monetary policy of Nigeria remains the same, there is stability within the system, investors in the Nigerian economy have no reason whatsoever to fear.
“The decision was taken only with regards to internal governance issue regarding to the Central Bank.
“Government remains committed to the stability of the economy, the stability of the naira and the stability of the country’s monetary policy,” he said.
Abati reiterated that Sanusi’s suspension was purely because of financial recklessness and unprofessional conduct.
“This is not a sudden development, it is a long process dating back to last year.
“Last year, when the CBN submitted its financial statements for the year ended 31st of December, a query was raised about some of the issues in the financial statement and the CBN governor was asked to offer clarification.
“A response came from the CBN which was then forwarded to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria and the Council is empowered to review the account of the CBN.
“The investigation took place and some of the outcomes of that process relate to the issues raised about financial recklessness,” he said.
Abati said the investigations by the council revealed persistent refusal and negligence of the CBN governor to comply with the Public Procurement Act in the procurement practices of the CBN.
He said the investigation also revealed unlawful expenditure by CBN on intervention projects across the country.
Abati said that Sanusi was indicted for using and deploying huge sums as CBN Governor without appropriation and outside the CBN’s statutory mandate.
“It is trite that the expenditure of public fund by any organ of government must be based on clear legal mandate, prudent costing and overriding national interest,” he said.
Abati also said the suspension of Sanusi had nothing to do with the investigation in the National Assembly over alleged missing fund in Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation which he raised.
He said the National Assembly was an independent arm of government with statutory powers to carry out its oversight functions without executive interference.
On the issue of illegality and whether or not the president has the power to remove a CBN governor without recourse to the National Assembly, Abati said that the president did not act ultra vires.
He said Section 11 (2F) of the CBN Act being referred to, dwells on removal of a CBN governor by the president with the approval of two-third majority of the National assembly.
Abati said that what the president had done was not removal but suspension of the CBN governor pending investigation into allegations against him.
He said the law could not be read in isolation.
Abati also clarified that the forwarding of a replacement for Sanusi as well as a deputy governor of CBN was tidy and in order.
He said Sanusi was due to retire in June, while the former Deputy Governor of the Bank, Mr Tunde Lemo, retired early February.
He said it was imperative to nominate candidates for their replacement for Senate screening and approval.
Abati said that appointments to such strategic positions should not be kept in abbeyance.
He said that the early nomination of replacements would give room for credibility and smooth transition.
“I do not see untidiness in this; you know that there are two vacancies.
“The suspended governor was going to retire in June, with the retirement of former Deputy Governor, Tunde Lemo, there was also a vacancy at the deputy governor level.
??”Now, in many countries of the world, you do not wait to the last minute before you appoint successors, particularly to positions in such a strategic institutions as the Central Bank of Nigeria. ?
?”You allow room for proper transition and for the market to get to know who the new persons are.
“And in regards to the position of CBN governor, I think announcing the nomination for that position is good for the market.
“??It gives confidence, it reassures the market that there is no crisis, that there is stability and that the institution is in good standing and it has nothing to do with the issue of CBN governor,” he said.