A human rights lawyers, Mr. Femi Falana, Wednesday rejected the defence of the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, on how the apex bank under his leadership removed $7 billion from the country’s foreign reserves and doled out it to 14 commercial banks.
Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), demanded whether the commercial banks that benefitted from $7 billion, which the former CBN governor said was deposited in the banks on October 3, 2006.
He made the demand in a statement he issued yesterday, saying Soludo’s demand for apology “is a joke since it was the CBN under him that claimed to have given its own share of $7 billion to the 14 banks.”
In the statement which he personally signed, Falana described Soludo’s demand for apology as baseless, noting that it was the CBN under his leadership that issued a statement on October 3, 2006 to the effect that the $7 billion had been released to the 14 banks.
The senior advocate said Soludo confirmed that the CBN management actually issued the statement, though claimed that Soludo “has turned round to say that it was a deposit and not a loan.
“So the $7 billion transaction is no longer a lie emanating from me! But in a display of empty arrogance, Soludo proceeded to accuse me of exhibiting ignorance by referring to the deposit placed in the 14 banks as a loan.
“Soludo never disclosed the terms of the deposit of the sum of $7 billion and when the principal sum and the accrued interests were paid back to the nation’s foreign reserves,” he explained.
He added that it was the management of the CBN that claimed “to have released to the 14 banks its own “share” of $7 billion from the foreign reserves estimated at $38 billion at the material time.
“The CBN never stated that it had fixed $500 million in each of the 14 banks, but that it had released a total of $7 billion of its own “share” of the fund. Is Soludo insisting that CBN under his management was entitled to any share of the nation’s foreign reserves?
“In any case, whether it was a deposit or its own “share” of the foreign reserves, did the CBN ever announce that the deposit had been paid back to the foreign reserves which belong to the three tiers of government of Nigeria?”
Meanwhile, Falana last night condemned the decision to suspend the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon Jubrin Abdulmumin, from the House, saying the decision will not stand.
Falana who is also Abdulmumin’s lawyer said: “It is a primitive resort to self by the House. Since the matter is in court the House deliberately breached its rule of not interfering with pending judicial proceedings.
“In his desperation to cover up the scandal the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, made himself the accuser, witness, prosecutor and judge at the same time and thereby breached the elementary rule of nemo judex in causa sua (thou shall not be a judge in your own cause).
“In view of the ongoing investigation by the police and the EFCC of the serious allegations of corrupt practices, fraud and money laundering levelled against the Speaker by Jibrin, the suspension has made a mockery of the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration. It is a decision that will not stand,” he argued.