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Court restrains FRCN from investigating Sanusi

13 May 2014, 12:05

Lagos - A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday restrained the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN) from further investigating the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

Sanusi had on March 26, filed a suit through his counsel, Kola Awodehin (SAN), seeking a declaration that the FRCN, constituting itself into an investigating body in a manner contained in some newspaper publications of March 24, ultra vires its powers.

In his ruling, Justice James Tsoho held that the court had jurisdiction to determine the matter as raised in the preliminary objection made by the defendant's counsel,Mohammed Ajibola (SAN).

He held that the role played by the FRCN and the language of the briefing note by the defendant revealed that the defendants had already decided the fate of the plaintiff.

The judge said the fact that the plaintiff was not called upon to make representation in the matters contained in the briefing notes, connoted prejudice.

While granting all the relief sought by the plaintiff in his suit, Tsoho held that the council acted beyond the scope of its power (ultra vires) to investigate the plaintiff.

He said that although the FRCN Act conferred it with investigative powers, such powers should be limited to the object and purpose of the Act.

The judge also ruled that the Act did not confer absolute powers on the FRCN and its executive secretary to investigate the plaintiff.

He held that the practise, according to the Act, should be for a professional accountant to relate any irregularity in the financial statement of the CBN to the FRCN.

He also ruled that such investigations must be conducted in line with the rules of natural justice, adding that the rules of natural justice and fair hearing were not complied with.

He said issues of bias was seen in the manner the investigation was conducted, and therefore restrained the council from further investigating the suspended CBN governor.

-   NAN

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