…Printing of naira notes, surplus CBN finances to be investigated
From Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
THE Federal Government is considering probing the tenures of two former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governors, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo and Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
The probe would specifically cover the activities of the CBN between 2007 and 2014.
According to a top Presidency source, the probe, which was yet to be finally approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, would focus on the printing of naira notes under the authorisation of Soludo and the management of CBN’s “surplus” finances under Sanusi, who is now Emir of Kano.
According to the source, government believed that the handling of projects and policies by the two ex-CBN governors had issues that needed clarification.
Sanusi recently cautioned the incumbent administration not to engage in acts that would make it end like the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. He criticised the FOREX policy of the government, which, he argued had enabled some people to make huge money without any investment.
Soludo on the other hand had also faulted some economic policies of the government recently. The source, however, denied that the planned probe the two former CBN governors had anything to do with their criticisms of the government. Rather, the source claimed that the president would not gloss over any corruption matter no matter the individuals involved and the time it took place.
He said: “We believe that questions that have not been completely answered must be brought forward and clarified as a way of ensuring that the nation’s institutions do the right thing at all times.”
He continued: “If certain questions were left hanging by the past administrations, this should be the time to clear themselves since this administration is determined to fight corruption and corrupt tendencies. The move would also help any of the past officials to clear themeselves of any perceived wrongdoing.”
According to the source, while Soludo’s tenure would be investigated for the process of printing new naira notes, the tenure of Sanusi would be probed for the distribution of FOREX earnings to Bureau de Change operators as well as the report of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), which had raised several allegations against Sanusi.
Former president Jonathan suspended Sanusi on account of the FRCN report.
The 13-page report alleged that the former CBN governor spent N1.257 billion for lunch for policemen and private guards in 2012.
The Council also alleged that Sanusi as CBN governor made huge payments to airlines for currency distribution, while also allegedly holding an account balance of N1.423 billion for an unidentified customer since 2008.
The FRCN also queried what it called approval of billions of naira in “ambiguous payments” to invoices referred to as “Centre of Excellence” and “Contribution to Internal National Security,” by the CBN under Sanusi.
The apex bank was said to have paid N38.233 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) Plc in 2011 for the “printing of bank notes” whereas the turnover of the entire printing and minting company group for the year stood at N29.370 billion.