Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Ousted

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has suspended the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, alleging “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct”. He will be replaced by his deputy, Sarah Alade, as acting governor.

The surprise move comes four months before Sanusi was due to step down from the post at the end of his first term and may undermine the bank’s independence.

Having been appointed in 2009 as the country suffered a debt crisis, Sanusi is credited with cleaning up Nigeria’s banking industry after rescuing it from near collapse, keeping interest rates at a record in the face of calls from businesses for lower borrowing costs, and bringing the inflation down to below 10%. He was named central bank governor of the year for 2010 by
The Banker
magazine.

However, despite winning widespread respect for his reforms Sanusi has more recently embarrassed the government with accusations of missing revenue in Nigeria’s oil sector. Earlier this month, he told a senate committee that out of US$67bn of oil sold over the 19-month period January 2012 to July 2013, US$20bn had not been accounted for.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation retorted that the allegations showed “little understanding of the technicalities of the oil industry”.

According to a BBC report, president Jonathan asked Sanusi to resign in December but he refused. However the president, who will be standing for reelection next year, does not have the power to sack the central bank governor and only the National Assembly has such authority.

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