06.02.2014 Nigeria

$20 Billion Missing Money: HURIWA Asks Sanusi To Seek Judicial Redress

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
$20 Billion Missing Money: HURIWA Asks Sanusi To Seek Judicial Redress
06.02.2014 LISTEN

Dissatisfied with the way and manner that the Central Bank of Nigeria's Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has raised a number of sensational allegations of financial heist against the Nigeria's National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] which has so far been discredited by the officials of the NNPC, a civil society group with pro-transparency tendency-HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has canvassed judicial interpretation relating to constitutional question of whether the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] is statutorily entitled to deduct foreign derived revenue from source before making payment to the Federation Account of Nigeria.

HURIWA is of the conviction that judicial process is best suited for this kind of very sensitive matter to protect the nation's fragile economy from suffering the consequences of loss of confidence by foreign direct investors and other industrialists just as the group said the financial health of Nigeria is of the highest essence that must be protected by all and sundry and especially government officials that hold very sensitive financial positions.

In a statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Miss. Zainab Yusuf, HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] affirmed that in as much as whistle blowing is internationally acclaimed as the most effective and potent tool against corruption, economic crimes and the best measure to protect and promote the principle and practice of transparency, accountability and zero-tolerance to official, public and private corrupt practices, it said the 'politically suspicious' manner and the wrong timing of these deluge of allegations of sleaze and financial malpractices made by the CBN governor on the eve of his departure from office amidst speculations of his 'association' with political opposition elements belonging to the newly registered All Progressives Congress makes it imperative that a judicial decision be sought by the hierarchy of the Nigeria's Central Bank to put to rest once and for all the controversy regarding the administration of funds that ought to be remitted to Nigeria's Federation account by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum and the NNPC.

HURIWA said that the federal ministry of Finance has also not helped matter by behaving as if the interest of the political masters was important than national interest in all of these spate of controversies over a range of 'missing' monies.

Specifically, The CBN Governor, who on Tuesday raised the allegation of another missing $20 billion against the NNPC when he appeared before the National Assembly's committee probing the nation's crude oil sector, defended himself by saying that he never raised the allegation to tarnish anyone's public image but that he did that in the best interest of the country's economy.

Sanusi had earlier accused NNPC of stealing $49 billion but later admitted mathematical miscalculation in his allegation and amended it to $12 billion just before he raised another kind of criminal allegation concerning the financial malpractices noticed with the administration of the kerosene subsidy by the NNPC's officials which he puts at $20 billion as money stolen or diverted.

But, the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] advised the CBN governor to proceed to the court of competent jurisdiction with facts and figures to obtain an authoritative judicial pronouncement in order to put to bed the allegations that the nation's managers of our crude oil resources have embarked on unrelenting bonanza of theft of public fund, unending vicious circle of misappropriation and diversion of huge foreign revenue that ought to be remitted to Nigeria's Federation Account.

HURIWA stated that as the nation's most preeminent bank chief, the Central Bank Governor was in the best position to be in the know regarding the various transactions that go on at the highest levels of government but the group insisted that apart from presenting those damning evidence before the political and public arena, the Central Bank chief should also seek judicial pronouncement for posterity and to justify his claim that he is not on a wild goose chase and jamboree of political vendetta.

Besides, HURIWA asked the National Assembly to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria's enabling Act to make it imperative that the holder of the high office of the Governor of CBN is prevented and insulated from political influences by making it mandatory that the holder isn't allowed to venture into party politics until after five years of exiting or quitting his appointment at the end of the statutory tenure.

The Rights group has also called for the appointment of a thorough bred professional banker and economist of high repute from any part of the World irrespective of the person's place of birth or nationality but with clean forensic crime free record to head the Central Bank of Nigeria after the exit of the current holder. HURIWA said Nigeria should borrow a leaf from the British government that recently hired a Canadian scholar of Finance to head the British Central Bank.

HURIWA said thus: " While we commend the courage, and resilience of the CBN governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in making these range of allegations, he must go a step further to file a suit at the appropriate and best competent court of law because the criminal allegations are specifically meant to indict certain individuals in the nation's crude oil industry so the court would be in the best position to indict, convict and sanction appropriately any Nigerian official of the NNPC found culpable of the series of allegations of criminal diversion of Nigeria's foreign revenue which breaches the Appropriation Act of 2013".

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