PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan in a media chat on monday said that the suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, could return to office if he comes clean of the allegations against him.
He also said that he did not act maliciously in removing him and also added that he had the powers to suspend Sanusi based on clear provisions of the constitution which empowered him to do so.
Jonathan made this known during a media chat in Abuja on Monday, adding that he did not act maliciously in removing him.
“The president has the power to suspend Sanusi and such power is clearly spelt out in the constitution. The president has oversight function over the CBN.
“For the CBN to change the colour of naira, for instance, the president has to approve the decision. Sanusi can come back as CBN governor if he is cleared of the issues raised by the Financial Reporting Council,” Jonathan said.
He said Sanusi had to step aside so as not to frustrate the ongoing investigation on the 2012 audited report of the apex bank, asking Nigerians to be patient and watch out for the outcome of the investigation.
Jonathan lamented that the 2012 audited report of CBN was yet to be made public because of the issues requiring explanation from Sanusi that were raised in it, saying that he had to give a provisional approval before the 2013 audit could be carried out.
On the speculation that the Federal Government will prosecute Sanusi, President Jonathan said government would not just prosecute because there were laid down procedures.
He, however, remarked that “prosecution can come in if fraud is established against the suspended CBN governor.”
On the timing of Sanusi’s suspension, he said there was no time that was inappropriate to suspend anybody, adding that the sensitive nature of the apex bank to the economy necessitated wide consultations with stakeholders before the decision was taken.
He described the outcry against the decision as “unnecessary and irrelevant,” explaining that the succession crisis that could have arisen from the decision had been taken care of with the appointment of an acting governor and the dispatching of a substantive governor’s name to the Senate for confirmation.
Reacting to the allegation of missing $20 billion leveled against the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) by Sanusi, the president said the inconsistency in the figures bandied by Sanusi had made the matter delicate.
He, however, averred that every kobo of the country’s money found to be missing must be found.
Speaking on the proposed national conference, the president disclosed that the purpose was not to prevent Nigeria’s disintegration, averring that the country would not fall apart.
He hinted that the confab might begin on March 18, disclosing that he would inaugurate the chairman, deputy and secretary on the confab on March 10, a week before the conference begins.