A Federal High Court in Lagos State, on Monday restrained the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria from proceeding with its proposed investigations into the allegations of financial recklessness leveled against the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanumi.
In his ruling in a suit instituted by Sanusi to bar the FRCN from probing him, Justice John Tsoho held that given the circumstances, the FRCN had not complied with the provisions of the law.
“I do not accept the stance of the defendants (FRCN and its Executive Secretary) that they acted within the stance of the FRCN Act and complied with the principles of natural justice.
“It is glaring that if they kept the letters of the Act they did not respect its ennobling position,” the judge ruled.
In granting Sanusi’s prayers, the judge said, ”The defendants have acted in breach of natural justice, denied the plaintiff fair hearing and acted in bad faith.”
Tsoho held that considering the facts and the prevailing circumstances, the probe was tantamount to a breach of natural justice since the briefing note recommending Sanusi’s removal as CBN Governor was the pivot upon which FRCN action was hinged.
“It is presumed that jaundiced recommendations can go a long way in affecting the decision of the government,” the judge said.
Sanusi had filed the suit challenging the legality of the proposed probe by the FRCN.
He had urged the court to stop the investigation into the CBN records of the period within which he was the governor on the grounds that FRCN had found him guilty before commencing the probe.
He said the body had, by its briefing note attached to the letter suspending him as the CBN governor on February 20, 2014, and newspaper advertisement inviting him for the probe, already reached a conclusion as to his culpability.
The suspended CBN boss, through his counsel, Mr. Kola Awodein (SAN), insisted that he had not been given the benefit of fair hearing. At the hearing of the matter, Awodein said the conduct, action and decisions of the FRCN were ultra vires their power and therefore had asked the court to restrain the FRCN from probing him.