Outgoing Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has filed as suit to stop the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) from probing his tenure at the apex bank.
The embattled Sanusi, suspended by President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday in February for “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct,” filed the suit through his counsel, Mr Kola Awodehin (SAN).
Accordingly, a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday fixed April 11 to hear a suit in which he is seeking a declaration that the FRCN constituting itself into an investigating body in a manner contained in some newspaper publications of March 24 is ultra vires in its powers.
Joined in the suit is the FRCN and the Executive Secretary of the FRCN who are first and second defendants respectively.
An FRCN audit of the apex bank uncovered a series of questionable financial transactions over which it raised audit queries that the outgoing governor refused to respond until he was suspended from office.
One of the deals is Sanusi’s claim that he approved N32.23 billion to the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Corporation (NSPMC) whereas the FRCN document found that for the year under review, the gross revenue recorded by the Mint from all businesses done for the CBN and others amounted to N29 billion.
Sanusi is seeking a declaration that the conduct, actions and decision of the defendant were ultra vires and that the FRCN’s declaration in a briefing note dated June 7, 2013 and submitted to the President were ultra vires in their powers as contained in the FRCN Act, 2011.
He is also wants a declaration that the defendant, having reached a conclusion as to his culpability as CBN governor, indicated in the briefing note can no longer conduct any investigation on the same matter.
Other prayers in the suit are: “A declaration that the defendant’s recommendation regarding the plaintiff in briefing note date June 7, 2013 that he having been removed from office as CBN governor, were ultra vires under the FRCN Act 2011.”
Sanusi is also urging the court to declare that the proposed investigation as advertised in the Punch Newspaper of March 24 was tantamount to a breach of natural justice.
The outgoing governor is, therefore, seeking an order restraining the defendants or any person, body, agent, or privies, under its authority, or pursuant to the FRCN Act, from conducting and continuing with investigation or inquiry as advertised.
The defence has, however, filed a preliminary objection, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit.
In a short ruling, Justice James Tsoho, said that he would hear the defendant’s objection and the plaintiff’s motion together and consequently ordered that the status quo should be maintained until the suit was determined.
“It is hereby ordered that status quo as at the time of instituting this suit should be maintained until it is determined,” he said.
He adjourned the case to April 11 for hearing.