The former Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor and Emir of Kano, Mohammed Lamido Sanusi has said the embattled former petroleum resources minister, Diezani Allison-Madueke is “lying” over claim that he (Sanusi) came to lobby her for help over his interest in African Development Bank, AfDB presidency but came up with $20bn missing oil fund allegation because he lost out in getting the job.
Sanusi, speaking with Sunday Telegraph, said Diezani, battling breast cancer, was being economical with the truth in her interview with thebossnewspaper.com on his interest and how he lost the opportunity to head the continental financial institution.
Sanusi said it was not a hidden fact he expressed interest in the AfDB job when the position became vacant. He noted that while he expressed lack of interest in a second term as CBN Governor, he wrote a letter to former President Goodluck Jonathan and the Senate and also discussed his AfDB ambition extensively with the then Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke.
“It is not something that is hidden that anybody who is seeking that job must get the support of his country. Knowing fully that I went to the President with my intention and before I made the exposure of the $20bn oil deal, Jonathan clearly indicated his support for me. He even directed Hassan Tukur, his Principal Private Secretary to write to African heads of state. So, what is Diezani saying? One can now see that she is lying,” Emir Sanusi told the newspaper.
He added that it was on record that a week after he exposed the matter, Jonathan wrote a letter withdrawing his nomination as Nigeria’s candidate and replaced him with then Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, who later won the election.
“My suspension came a week after I made the disclosure of the missing monies, precisely on February 20, 2014. As at that time, I was the only candidate from Nigeria gunning for the AfDB job, but you know one cannot have it when he is suspended. My passports were all confiscated. Jonathan in trying to punish me denied me of the job and replaced me with Akin Adesina, who is my personal friend,” he added.
However, Sanusi said contrary to Diezani’s submission, he affirmed that there were issues to be cleared around the subsidy regime under Jonathan.
“The question that remains for Diezani to answer is: Was there $6bn said to have been remitted to NPDC which they denied? As for that denial, who is holding that money? What happened to the inflated N6 per litre kerosene subsidy? Where is the money said to be paid to that effect? All these questions formed the basis upon which I was suspended and denied the AfDB job,” he stated.
On its début edition, The boss online newspaper quoted Diezani as saying Sanusi must have been angry with her because of the way President Jonathan administration treated him.
“In all honesty, he (Sanusi) was being blocked from seeing the President by some of Oga’s people (presidential aides) but it had nothing to do with me. I was the one who even told Oga about the development and Oga said he would meet him in London on one of his trips. Unfortunately my boss fell ill and was rushed to King Edward Hospital and the meeting was aborted,” she said.
“Sanusi and I had been friends. There was no way I would have done anything bad to him. He even came to my house to inform me about his interest in heading the African Development Bank and we discussed for about two hours. I promised to support him and I spoke to Oga about it. We were together on the Reconciliation Committee that looked into the accounts of NNPC. Yes there were gaps but not on the alarming scale being circulated. Markafi (former Governor of Kaduna State) did a thorough job. You know he is a very sound accountant.”
But the monarch reminded the former minister that what he did was neither a personal war nor was it targeted at anybody.
He declared that if anybody feels affected by the revelation, he or she should come forward and clear their name.
“Certainly, there is nothing personal. It is our nation’s money we are talking about. One cannot take away the treasury and expect to go scot-free. He must answer the basic questions. Everyone is aware that I was punished by former President Jonathan for exposing the missing $20bn. The punishment after suspending me from the CBN and taking away my passports was also blocking me from becoming the AfDB President. But Allah in his mercy today has given me something much more better than that,” Sanusi stated.
He expressed sympathy for Diezani’s health condition and wished her quick recovery. He, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to get to the bottom of the matter.