CBN Gov, Sanusi in Heated Telephone Exchange with President Jonathan over Retirement


The controversial letter written by the Central Bank Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to President Goodluck Jonathan, detailing the unremitted $49.8 billion oil revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to the Federation Account has resulted in a hot telephone exchange between the CBN governor and Mr. President.

According to a report, the President was said to have asked Sanusi Lamido to resign immediately on the grounds that the letter he wrote to him was leaked to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

But Sanusi who has denied leaking the letter to anyone, did not only refuse to resign, but informed the president during the heated telephone exchange that he could only be removed by two-thirds of the Senate as required by law. reportedly exclusively on Wednesday that the CBN Governor informed his staff during a meeting which lasted for several hours that he is not going anywhere until his tenure expires on the 1st of June, 2014.

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Sanusi Lamido Stirs Another Controversy, Vows to Remain at CBN Until June 1

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.

Although, at a joint press conference convened by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and Sanusi, it was later revealed that only the sum of $10.8 billion was yet to be reconciled and not $49.8 billion as claimed in Sanusi’s letter to the president, the President was already irked by the damage the leaked letter has caused to his reputation and wants Sanusi to leave at all cost.

Attempts by Sanusi at the press conference to even distance himself from the statements made by Okonjo-Iweala and Alison-Madueke, stating that it was $12 billion that had not been remitted by NNPC was quickly interjected by the finance minster insisting that it was $10.8 billion that had not been remitted to the Federation Account and was still in dispute.

It was learnt from a report that the president called Sanusi and accused him of leaking the letter to Obasanjo, which enabled the latter to use it as one of many allegations he levelled against Jonathan in his letter titled: “Before It is Too Late”.

According to a report, he president, who a source in the presidency said was very angry and was not prepared to allow Sanusi to proceed on his terminal leave in March, asked him to tender his resignation before the close of business last Tuesday.

However, Sanusi denied that he had leaked his letter to Obasanjo and made it abundantly clear he would not be forced out, except he is removed by two-thirds of the Senate.

He also told the president that the letter was available in the presidential villa, available in the finance ministry and available in the central bank and wondered how he (Sanusi) could have leaked the letter, which was so widely available, to a former two-term president of Nigeria who has his people all over the place.

Sanusi also expressed his surprise to the president 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.
His response, which threw the president aback, degenerated into a heated exchange during which Sanusi told the president that as the federal government’s Chief Economic Adviser, mandatory 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 president was said to have remained adamant and insisted on the CBN governor’s resignation.

Following the exchange, Sanusi, another source said, briefed his close aides at the CBN and family of what had transpired between himself and the president.
The source said he did it to shield himself from harm, as he felt his life might be in danger for defying the direct order of the president.

But it is not clear what would now happen to the CBN governor who has already indicated that he will leave office in March on a three-month terminal leave ahead of the expiration of his tenure in June.

But it is not clear what would now happen to the CBN governor who has already indicated that he will leave office in March on a three-month terminal leave ahead of the expiration of his tenure in June.


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