At the time of hearing of his suspension, the governor was attending a meeting in Niamey, Niger along with other heads from the Central Bank of West African States to meet with the Nigerian and Ghanaian presidents.
According to Abati, Sanusi was suspended on the grounds that his tenure had allegedly been characterised by various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct. According to the federal government, these actions are inconsistent with the administration’s vision of a central bank propelled by the core values of focused economic management, prudence, transparency and financial discipline.
“Well, I don’t know what they are talking about. … [W]hen I come back, I’ll see what those allegations are,” Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, suspended governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told CNBC Africa.
According to him, the Financial Reporting Council looked through the banks audited accounts some time ago and asked a few questions which were sent to the president however, there was no feedback.
“I don’t think there’s any issue that’s been raised that has not been raised before, but you know we all know what this is about. This is about the consequences for the changes that I have made and this is something that is long overdue. I’m surprised it took them so long,” he explained.
Sanusi was appointed as the governor of the central bank in 2009 and has since led some significant changes in Nigeria’s financial sector. In August 2009, he led the CBN to save eight banks found to have failed the ‘stress test’.
“Basically, my biggest concern is for the system and I hope that the Nigerian economy will not be hurt by this. I also hope the integrity of the central bank will be protected … I’ve been fortunate to have had an opportunity to do some good work on the bank on stability. I would not want to see all of that unravelled and no individual is worth it,” he said.
Late last year, he wrote to the president alleging the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had retained almost 50 billion dollars in revenue that was due to the government. On 4 February this year, he told the senate finance committee that about 20 billion dollars was still outstanding.
“You can suspend an individual but you can’t suspend the truth. If this is all about the concerns around oil revenues in the oil sector, if this is going to bring back the 20 billion dollars then that is fine,” he added.
Sanusi believes that his legacy of low inflation, stable exchange rate, a reformed and well governed banking system, of robust reserves, financial inclusion and of an independent central bank will be remembered and that it will be recorded in history.
“Like I said, I have no regrets, I have no ill-feelings, with no sadness, I’m happy. I’m proud of what I have done,” he concluded.