Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Femi Aribisala Reason for Sanusi to End-up in Kirikiri

Nothing speaks more eloquently about this culture of impunity than the CBN under Lamido Sanusi. Sanusi’s posture as CBN Governor is an insult to Nigerians. He ran the place as a personal estate. He flouted every financial regulation.

He gave away government money in a flagrant manner that would give pause to even billionaire Mike Adenuga. And then when he knew the game was up, he decided to blow the lid on NNPC financial indiscretions, in order to distract attention and attract public support and sympathy. Nigerians should not fall for this “mago-mago.” Lamido Sanusi should not only be sacked, he should be tried and, if convicted, should be jailed.

The last thing a country needs is a CBN governor who talks frivolously. The word of a CBN governor has implications for financial market volatility; therefore he must mark his words. He must speak with confidence
and precision. Not so with Lamido Sanusi. Sanusi went public and made a monkey of his credibility. First, he said $49 billion was missing from NNPC accounts. Then he said it was $10 billion; and then it was $20 billion. What will it be tomorrow? How come Sanusi did not determine precisely the amount before broadcasting it to the world? It would appear that Sanusi’s reckless disclosures came out of the need for him to cover his tracks at the CBN. Knowing that the book would soon be thrown at him, he decided to lay the grounds for saying he was being accused of financial improprieties because he exposed those of others.

The financial atrocities in the CBN under Sanusi are simply outrageous. If this is how government agencies steal and mismanage public funds, then Nigeria is in more trouble than we have ever imagined. CBN accounts under Sanusi read like pure fiction. While crying foul about missing money in NNPC, Sanusi failed to account for missing monies in CBN. Investigating the CBN in April 2013, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRC) discovered that ?38.23 billion was missing. The money was said to have been paid to MINT- a subsidiary of the CBN. However, MINT accounts showed no such money was received.

It is only in Nigeria that you can have a Central Bank governor spend government money anyhow at his own discretion. Sanusi did not just spend a few thousand naira whimsically. He did not just give away millions of naira like Aliko Dangote. He gave away billions. The government reveals that Sanusi gave away nothing less than ?163 billion in no less than 63 “intervention projects” in different parts of the country. Remember this: that is more than the entire 2014 budget of Edo State.

It is a big indictment of the Jonathan administration that this impunity was tolerated for this long and was only addressed after Sanusi became a political embarrassment to the government. The billion-naira question now is what is going to happen to Sanusi. Will he get away with these corrupt practices or will he be prosecuted to the full extent of the law? My position is that we need to chart a new course in the treatment of corruption in Nigeria. If Sanusi is truly guilty of these improprieties, he should be sent to jail; for a very long time.

Source: Vanguard

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