President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday informed a Federal High Court in Abuja that the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, was suspended for awarding contracts amounting to N163 billion, which is 63 per cent in excess of CBN’s statutorily authorised share capital of N100 billion.
Counsel to President Jonathan, Dr. Fabian Ajogwu, while arguing his preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, stated that Sanusi was suspended to pave way for investigation into cases of financial recklessness and misappropriation for which he was queried by the President.
Ajogwu stated that “Sanusi was suspended for awarding contracts amounting to over N163 billion, which is 63 per cent in excess of CBN’s statutorily authorised share capital of 100 billion.
“All of these, happened almost four months prior to the alleged whistle blowing of September 2013 of missing monies,” Ajogwu noted.
He further told the court that “by virtue of Section 11 of National Industrial Court Act, 2006, matters relating to employment fall under the exclusive jurisdiction of the NIC”, adding that Section 11 (2) of the Interpretation Act, clarifies whether or not President Jonathan has powers to suspend Sanusi.
In opposing the suit brought by the former CBN Governor asking that he be reinstated, Ajogwu said that “in the instant case, Sanusi’s suspension is in effect pending the outcome of his investigation. Sanusi is answerable to Board of CBN, and CBN as an institution is independent and separate from Sanusi. His tenure ends in June 2014 but the CBN remains. So, there is no cause of action on point of Sanusi’s suspension.”
Also opposing the suit in an application filed on behalf of the 2nd defendant, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mike Ozekhome, SAN said that the AGF wants, “An order of this Honourable Court striking out and/or dismissing this suit for want of competency as this Honourable Court lacks the requisite jurisdiction to entertain same”.
On his part, counsel to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) (3rd defendant), Solomon Umoh, opposed the suit, insisting that Sanusi is not a parallel government, “as he comes under the executive powers of the President as provided for by Section 5 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended).
He therefore urged the court to strike out the IG’s name from the suit, explaining that Sanusi joined him in the suit for fear that the police will go after him.
Responding, Sanusi’s lawyer, Kola Awodein, SAN asked the court to “dismiss the defendants’ preliminary objections and assume jurisdiction over the matter”.