Thursday 9 January 2014

$50billion saga: Sanusi defies Jonathan’s order to resign, says only Senate can remove him

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has told President Goodluck Jonathan that he would not resign on the ground that he allegedly leaked his letter on the unremitted $49.8 billion oil revenue to the Federation Account, THISDAY has reported.
The presidency is accusing Sanusi of leaking the memo he wrote to Mr. Jonathan to former President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
But Sanusi has strongly denied, saying he cannot be held responsible for a ‘crime’ he did not commit.
To this end, the CBN governor reportedly rejected the President’s order during a heated telephone conversation, saying he could only be removed by two-third of the Senate as required by the law.

The president, DailyPost gathered, had called Sanusi and accused him of leaking the letter to Obasanjo, which the latter used as an allegation in his letter titled: “Before It is Too Late”.
Jonathan, was said to have asked Sanusi, whose terminal leave begins in March, to tender his resignation before the close of business last Tuesday.
In defense, the Apex bank chief told the president that the letter was available in the presidential villa, the Finance Ministry as well as the Central Bank, wondering how he (Sanusi) could have leaked the letter when any other government official or civil servant could have forwarded the letter to Obasanjo.
Sanusi also expressed his surprise that he was the one being asked to resign, instead of the president to ask those responsible for the non-remittance of the funds to resign.
He further informed the president that as the federal government’s Chief Economic Adviser, mandatorily required to bring issues of critical economic importance to the attention of the president, he had done a patriotic duty to his country.
“He informed the President that it is necessary to deal with the issues and not the letter that had been leaked since it has since been established that it was not $49.8 billion that had not been remitted to the Federation Account, but $10.8 billion, which was still in dispute and by any stretch of imagination was still a large sum.
“Sanusi felt he was being forced out for doing his patriotic duty to his country by drawing attention to the unaccounted funds. He only has two months to go, so this was a ploy to force him out and destroy his career and reputation.
“He knew this and for this reason, refused to throw in the towel as requested by the president,” a source familiar with the conversation said.
But the insistence of the president on Sanusi’s resignation has made him brief his close aides at the CBN and family members.
This, it was learnt, is to protect himself considering the consequence of defying the direct order of the president.
Recall that Sanusi had written to the president in September, informing him that, among other issues, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) had not remitted $49.8 billion of oil revenue to the Federation Account over a 19-month period.
While Obasanjo raised the observation as one of his many allegations in his December 2, 2013 letter, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), called on the National Assembly to not only investigate, but commence impeachment proceedings against the president.
On its part, the NNPC denied Sanusi’s claim, accusing the CBN governor of ignorance and playing politics with a serious matter.
Also, the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Sanusi, addressed a joint media briefing, explaining that a reconciliation process had established that it was not $49.8 billion that had not been repatriated to the Federation Account but $10.8 billion.
During the press conference, Sanusi distanced himself from the statements made by Okonjo-Iweala and Alison-Madueke, stating that it was $12 billion that had not been remitted by NNPC.
Okonjo-Iweala, however, interjected, insisting that it was $10.8 billion that had not been remitted to the Federation Account and not the new figure presented by Sanusi.

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