Lamido Sanusi is intent on going to court to challenge the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to suspend him for alleged “acts of financial recklessness”, Reuters reported.
Sanusi was stood down on Thursday, weeks after airing allegations that $20 billion in oil revenues was unaccounted for. At the time this allegation was dismissed out of hand by state-owned oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The banking chief was due to step aside from the post this summer, but was suspended this week pending an investigation. The president’s office issued a statement saying he was suspended due to “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct which are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a Central Bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline”.
Speaking with Reuters, Sanusi replied on Friday: “I’m going to court to challenge the suspension. I’m concerned about the precedent … I’m concerned about the idea that if you want to remove someone and you want a way around the law, you just write any kind of letter with all sorts of funny allegations and suspend the person.”
Sanusi will not, however, be seeking a return to his job. “I’m not going back. I have had my last day at work. I’m very glad to hand this over,” he told the news wire.
“I’m trying to get to the heart of collapsing oil revenues. My primary motive … is that oil prices have not come down, oil output has not come down, (but) oil revenues are crashing, and therefore my job as central bank governor in managing the exchange rate and reserves is threatened.”
Sanusi has recently aired allegations that, out of $67 billion in oil revenue garnered between January 2012 and July 2013, some $20 billion remains unaccounted for. An initial memo to Jonathan, which was subsequently leaked to press, had put the estimated figure at $50 billion.
NNPC managing director Andrew Yakubu retorted by saying Sanusi’s “unsubstantiated” claims of large-scale misappropriation of funds shows a lack of understanding of how the oil industry operates, and of the relationship between the company and subsidiary Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil exporter but claims of the misappropriation of funds have for years dogged what is one of the nation’s staple industries.
*Eoin O’Cinneide & news reports