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Thursday, 8 August 2013

Jonathan queries Sanusi over CBN 2012 account by Ifeanyi Onuba and Olalekan Adetayo

 


 

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has queried the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, over some items in the apex’s bank’s 2012 audit report.
A confirmation of the query was made by  the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, when he was contacted by one of our correspondents for a reaction to a publication (not by The PUNCH) on Tuesday over the report.
Although Abati was not specific in his response, he  said he  was aware that “some issues” came up and the CBN governor was asked to offer further explanations on them.
Abati, who  added that the CBN governor had since made clarifications, did  not say whether the President was satisfied with them or not.
“What I know is that some issues came up and he (the CBN governor) was asked to explain and he has since done so,” he said  on the telephone.
An online news medium, PointblankNews.com,  had  in the said  publication claimed that  Sanusi was queried by  Jonathan over some alleged infractions discovered in the  bank’s 2012 audited account.
According to the publication,  the query covered 22 issues bordering on infractions  in  the bank.
 It also alleged that the CBN governor  made some financial donations under the special access item in the CBN account.
The report by the news portal said that the query was sent to the CBN governor on May 6, while a response was expected back on May 8.
The CBN governor was, however,  reported by the portal to have submitted his reply to the President on May 21.
 Other issues raised in the query,  according to the online publication,  include the write-off of about N3.5bn CBN staff housing loan.
It also touched other issues such as refusal of the apex bank to consolidate its accounts, the trillion naira debt owed by the Asset Management Company, and  the non-disclosure of the total liabilities through the bond floated by the company.
Sanusi was also asked to explain the discrepancies noted in the 2012 account regarding the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, a subsidiary of the CBN.
The CBN reacted swiftly, saying the publication was the handiwork of mischief makers as it did not reflect the reality on the ground.
In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, the   Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Mr Ugochukwu Okoroafor,  said that contrary to the  report, the bank’s account was not queried by the President.
He added that  the CBN was the only institution among the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government that was recently given an award by the National Assembly Committee on Finance for presenting its account in a transparent manner.
For instance, he said  the committee specifically singled out the  bank for contributing over 75 per cent of MDA’s remittances to government coffers.
He said, “I have read that report and those things written there are not true. I am not aware that the President queried the CBN governor over that report. I am not aware of that.
“The 2012 report has been out for some time now and I can say that   the CBN is the only institution that in its   accounts has always come out without any problem.
“In fact,  even the finance committee commended us. We are the only institution that has shown consistency in terms of bringing   out our reports on time and in terms of remittances.
“We have never failed in the history of the CBN. The finance committee gave us an award and this was celebrated.
“They gave us with the Nigerian Television Authority and they said we made over 75 per cent of the contributions by MDAs  to their surplus and this happened just a few months ago.
“So the people are just being mischievious and we won’t succumb to any blackmail.”
Sanusi had last week while responding to questions on the controversy surrounding the approval of the CBN’s financial statement by the Financial Reporting Council, said the board of the  bank, and not the FRC, approved  the  report .
He had said, “On our accounts, the FRC does not approve our accounts. The board of the Central Bank had approved our accounts.
“The FRC is there to set accounting standards and to make sure they are improved on to meet international best practices.
“We published accounts and the FRC has comments on those accounts; they will take those comments and we will take on board whatever because they are the regulator as far as preparing financial statements is concerned and just like banks respect our own regulatory arena, we respect the FRC in its own regulatory arena.
“So there is no question at all about the non-approval, and I am not even aware of any issues that have been raised and I will like to put an end to all of that speculation.
“There is nothing like the FRC not approving our account. There is nothing like a query on our account.”
Punch

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