FG Says Deziani and Others Risk Jail Terms Over Missing $20Bn
Deziani Allison-Madueke, Minister of Petroleum Resources and other chief executives of parastatals in her ministry will be booted out and recommended for prosecution if she or any of her subordinates are indicted during the ongoing probe into the alleged missing $20 billion from the account of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to the Presidency.
Doyin Okupe, senior special assistant on Public Affairs to the President gave the assurance while explaining reasons for the removal of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from office as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
According to the Presidency, it was wrong for anyone to think the removal of Sanusi was a punitive measure against the Kano Prince over the allegations he raised against the NNPC and the ministry of petroleum resources whom he said have cheated the nation of proceeds of crude oil sale to the tune of $20 billion.
The presidency said the removal of Sanusi was a product of proper investigations into all allegations against him of which he was found culpable, but regretted that his exit came at a time when he (Sanusi) had made grave allegations against Madueke and some other persons working in her ministry.
The assurance was however given that no one, no matter how highly placed, will be allowed to go free if eventually indicted to have had a hand in the sleaze.
“This action of Mr. President is coming after a painstaking appraisal and investigation of all issues involved.
“The fact that this has occurred at the same period that Mr. Sanusi accused the NNPC of non- remittance of 20 billion dollars to the Federation Account does not in any way derogate from the grave infractions and illegalities discovered in the audit report of the CBN and its operations.
“For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerians should be assured that Government will go to any length to ensure that Mallam Sansui’s allegations against the NNPC are fully and conclusively investigated and if anyone is found culpable, they will be subjected to the full weight of the law.” The FG said in assuring Nigerians of its readiness to send Deziani and anyone to jail over the issue.
In its explanations of the infractions allegedly committed by Sanusi, the FG said it has evidence to prove that the tenure of Sanusi was fraught with fraud and abuse of privileges from the office.
Okupe in the statement insisted that the suspension of Sanusi is not an act of witch hunting neither is it a deviation from the anti-corruption drive of the Jonathan administration.
He explained that the issues that culminated into the suspension of the CBN Governor dates back to April 2013 following the submission of the CBN audited accounts for the year that ended on December 31st 2012, which was submitted to the President by the Apex bank.
The statement said there were several grievous issues bothering on “impunity, incompetence, non-challance, fraud, wastefulness, gross abuse of provisions as well aS a noncompliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007″ by Sanusi.
“This caused Mr President to issue a 22-paragraph query to the suspended CBN Governor on the 4th of May 2013 and the subsequent written explanation by Mallam Sanusi which was forwarded to the President on the 22nd of May 2013.
“After painstaking analysis and examination, the response was forwarded to the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria for further scrutiny and professional advice.
“The Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria thereafter forwarded a 13-page response to Mr President with various critical observations and far-reaching recommendations.
“One of the recommendations states thus “ Your Excellency may wish to exercise the powers conferred on Mr President by Section 11(2) (f) of the CBN ACT 2007 or invoke Section 11 (2) (c) of the said Act and cause the Governor and Deputy Governors to cease from holding office in the CBN”
“It is also important to note the unrestrained manner, recklessness and impunity with which the CBN Governor had governed the Apex bank in the last few years. In 2013 alone, the suspended CBN Governor single-handedly made spurious donations and awarded questionable contracts totaling 163 billion Naira (over 1 billion US dollars) to various institutions without recourse to the President as stipulated by Section 7 sub-section 5(a) of the CBN Act.
“Most unfortunate is the fact that of the 63 projects listed under the Corporate Social Responsibility of the CBN, only 3 of the contracts above 1 billion Naira were referred to the bureau of Public Procurement as required by law; it is based on this and other recommendations contained in the said report and after further consultations among stakeholders that Mr President in his wisdom and in the interest of probity, accountability and in order to preserve the integrity and sanctity of the Nations apex bank, decided to take the appropriate decision to place Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi on immediate suspension”.