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Published On: Fri, Feb 21st, 2014

You cannot suspend the truth – Sanusi tells Jonathan

Sanusi-Lamido-SanusiBelow is the transcript of the major parts of Sanusi’s first interview after his suspension. He spoke to CNBC Africa. Excerpts:

On whether he was on notice with respect to his suspension:

Well, I have been told by my office that a letter was received. As you know, I flew in this morning to Niamey along with other Governors of West African Central Banks to meet with the President of Niger and President of Ghana…Fortunately, I came in with my VP Sarah Alade whom I have been asked to hand over to. I have left the meeting to hand over to her. I have just met the Nigerian Ambassador to Niger who confirmed to me that the President asked him to inform me of the decision.

On accusations of “various acts of financial misconduct and recklessness” he said:

I don’t know what they are talking about. When I come back, I will see what those allegations are…I don’t think there is any issue raised that has not been raised before. We all know what this is about. This is about consequences for decisions I have taken… This is something that is long overdue. I am surprised it took them so long.

On concerns for the market: Basically, my concern is for the safety of the market…I have had a wonderful time in service to my country. I would not want to see all of my work unraveled. No individual is worth it.

On whether his suspension is politically motivated:

It is not for me to comment. I am not sure that erm… I think the answer to that is obvious…there is a legal question of whether the president has the authority to suspend the Governor and whether suspension is not removal. It will be helpful to establish the principles by court.

Even if I challenge it, I will not go back to the job. Even if I challenge it successfully, I will not go back to it. I think it will be in the interest of the institution for the courts to establish once and for all if the president has the powers to do this… If it is not challenged, the next Central Bank Governor cannot be independent with fear of being suspended by a politician. I do plan to have the courts confirm if indeed that authority exists and I will challenge it.

On his legacy:

He pointed out Low inflation. Stable exchange rate. Reformed and well governed banking system, robust reserve, independent central bank, financial inclusion, systems reform…history will record this, nothing is going to change that. You can suspend an individual, you can’t suspend the truth. And this is all about these concerns around oil revenues, around decadence in the oil sector and if this is going to bring about the $20 billion then that’s fine.

Sanusi Lamido also emphasized the fact that he trusted the competence of his successor Sarah Alade and the other deputy governors to continue his good work. His grouse seemed to be on the legality of his suspension and the future independence of the CBN Governor. He insisted he’d go to the courts to contest the arbitrariness of his suspension, citing the fact that the President himself did not sign his suspension letter as it was signed by the Secretary to the Federal Government. He finished by saying he had no regrets or ill feelings towards anyone on the matter.


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