Vanguard (Lagos)

28 October 2012

Nigeria: Oceanic Assets - Shareholders Demand Sanusi's Prosecution

Shareholders' Group, under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) has demanded for the prosecution of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mallam Lamido Sanusi over wrongful denial of access to information regarding the assets and money recovered from erstwhile managing director of Oceanic International Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.

In a suit No. FHC/L/CS/494/12 filed by counsel to Mr. Boniface Okezie, President of PSAN, seeking the Federal High Court, Lagos Division to compel Sanusi to comply with its request.

The PSAN President is seeking the following: "The total cash and value of properties recovered from Ibru; The whereabouts of the money and properties recovered and what part of this cash and properties has been returned to Oceanic Bank and/or its shareholders."

According to the counsel, Chuks Nwachukwu, "The CBN Governor ignored this request for access to information and upon further instruction from my client, I instituted an action on his behalf against the CBN at the Federal High Court, Lagos Division (Suit No. FHC/L/CS/494/12) seeking an order of court compelling compliance with the request. On 2nd October, 2012, the Honourable Justice Mohammed Idris upheld this part of the action and made an order directing compliance with the request within 72 hours."

He further stated that the court was careful to note that the defendant did not offer any reason whatsoever for the denial of access to information either at the time the request was made or at the hearing of the suit.

Nwachukwu declared that a case of wrongful denial to information was firmly established against Sanusi, saying; "He is liable to be prosecuted and upon conviction, to a fine of N500,000 as provided at section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act."

In this regard, Nwachukwu requested the Attorney- General of the Federation, Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Adoke to prosecute Sanusi in accordance with the law.

In a letter to the Attorney- General of the Federation, he said; " This letter is therefore to present you with a formal demand for the criminal prosecution of Mallam Lamido Sanusi in accordance with the law. I do believe that the seriousness of the offence is not lost on you.

"You have only recently publicly affirmed your commitment to ensuring the fullest implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as a means of combating the virus of corruption which has invaded our public institutions and finds a breeding ground in any place where official business is done in a cocoon of darkness and misinformation."

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