How Petitions To World Bank, IMF Nailed Sanusi


Facts emerged on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan hastened up action on the controversial suspension of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Lamido Sanusi, following certain petitions to both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) by some Nigeria bank shareholders.

The President had said he suspended Sanusi on February 20 to allow investigation into some allegations of financial recklessness levelled against the Governor and some Deputy Governors of the CBN by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria.

But Daily Independent exclusively gathered on Thursday that Jonathan acted fast to suspend Sanusi after two separate petitions written by shareholders of the defunct Bank PHB Plc, Afribank Plc, Spring Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Oceanic Bank Plc to the two Bretton Woods institutions got to him.

Out of the petitioning banks, only Union Bank still retains its name today.

The petitions, copies of which were obtained by our reporter, were signed by lawyer to the shareholders, Chuks Nwachuku.

Both petitions were copied to Jonathan and Sanusi.

The petitions, dated January 28, were specifically addressed to World Bank President, Jim Yona Kim, and IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde.

In the petitions, Sanusi was accused of forcefully taking over some financial institutions in Nigeria and committing monumental fraud in the process.

The petitions were titled: 'The hasty and unjustifiable IMF and World Bank support for Mallam Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of CBN, and its attendant effect of promoting investment fraud in the Nigerian banking industry'.

The shareholders stressed the need for the IMF and World Bank to prevail on the Nigerian government to review the banking reforms carried out by Sanusi because the “so called reforms” were purely based on falsehood and injustice.

They added that there was the need for a review of the reforms with a view of recovering the investments of millions of Nigerian shareholders in the banks which have been “stolen through them”.

While pointing to the Oceanic Bank issue, the shareholders said: “The fraud in the entire process of so called banking sector reform by Lamido Sanusi is also glaring in the case of Oceanic Bank Plc which the CBN Governor forced into acquisition by Ecobank Plc, an evidently much smaller bank in Nigeria as far as the eye could see.

“The CBN Governor prosecuted Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, the Managing Director of the bank at the time, for fraud and misappropriation of funds belonging to the bank and forced her to surrender assets the value of which the CBN Governor put in the excess of N191 billion.

“However, the CBN Governor failed to return these assets to the bank but, on the contrary, he sold the bank to Ecobank at a paltry N25 billion on the basis that the bank had negative assets.

“The CBN Governor has continued to resist demands, including a court order, to give information on the whereabouts of the recovered assets which were forfeited to the Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) by conspiracy of the CBN and other agencies of government in breach of the same principle of trust under which the assets were recovered.

“For, if the driving motive behind the prosecution of Mrs. Ibru, and hence, the so-called reforms, was to assist the bank and its stakeholders, including depositors, shareholders and creditors, then it should go without saying that the recovered assets should have been urgently returned to the bank to shore up its assets and financial position.

“But Lamido Sanusi, the self-proclaimed moral crusader, kept the recovered assets away from the bank and continued to scream that it was in a parlous state and sees no moral issues in his failure to account for the whereabouts of these assets,” the petition reads in part.

While seeking urgent intervention of the world financial institutions, the lawyer said: “It seems to me that the Nigerian government needs to be pushed not to continue to make corruption, misappropriation and brazen fraud into a bed of policies on which to lie.

“I believe that the refusal of Sanusi and his collaborators in the other agencies to account for the whereabouts of the recovered funds and assets and explain why they failed to return them to Oceanic Bank Plc to aid the recovery of that bank raises issues of corruption, misappropriation and fraud.

“The same goes for the charade of forcing banks into acquisition by other banks and interests on terms which amount to robbery of the assets of the acquired banks.

“It should be the duty of the Nigerian government to ensure that Lamido Sanusi and other officials of government implicated in this matter are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted if found to have misconducted themselves,” the lawyer added.

Meanwhile, the fundamental enforcement rights suit filed by Sanusi will today be heard by a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Sanusi had secured an order last week from the court restraining the security agencies from arresting him pending the determination of the case.

The suit was filed 24 hours after Sanusi was suspended owing to the seizure of his international passport at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, after arriving Nigeria from an official trip to Niger Republic.

Daily Independent