In an exclusive interview of Forbes Africa TV’s ‘My Worst Day with Peace Hyde’ which premiered on Wednesday, May 4th 2016 on CNBC Africa, the Emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Muhammad II, revealed how the then Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi leaked a letter he wrote to former President Goodluck Jonathan in 2013 on the missing $20 billion oil money.
Emir Sanusi said when he wrote the letter to Jonathan in August 2013, “he did nothing, I heard nothing. Until December 2013 or January 2014, General Obasanjo wrote this famous open letter to Jonathan, in that letter, he now referred to the letter by the central bank governor.
“Somebody had laid their hands on that letter, and this is Nigeria, it’s (bureaucracy) is long enough for somebody to have leaked the letter to someone, either from the presidency or from finance or petroleum or the central bank – I don’t know but the letter gone on.
“Later, I think a few weeks ago, governor Rotimi Amaechi announced to the world that he was the one who obtained a copy of the letter and leaked it. I don’t know where he got it, he didn’t say where he got it.”
Narrating more on the $20 billion saga to Forbes Africa, Sanusi said that in 2012 and 2013, government revenue collapsed by $10 billion, without a collapse in oil prices or production capacity, adding that the CBN found a $49 billion revenue gap.
Shocked at the revelation, Sanusi said he wrote Jonathan, saying: “If this continues, we are going to have a big problem if the price of oil came down. We can’t protect interest rates, we can’t protect exchange rates, we can’t protect reserves.
“We may have to tighten money to prevent inflation, there will be unemployment, government will suffer – all of the things we are seeing today.
“In the middle of all these, the president called me and said I should see him at 3pm. I turned up at 3pm and the entire place had been swept. There was no one apart from security services. I got to his office, it was just me and him. It was as if everybody had been asked to go.
“And so he says to me, he’s calling me because he is surprised that letter I wrote to him got to Obasanjo, I said I’m surprised too.
“He said he’s convinced that the letter went from the central bank to Obasanjo, and I had 24 hours to find who leaked the letter or sack somebody; the director who prepared the letter or my secretary and if I did not sack them, that was proof that I leaked the letter and therefore, I should resign.
“I said to him that I’m surprised that I’m being asked to resign for raising an alarm over missing funds and the minister in charge of the portfolio is not being asked to resign.
“From then I knew I had signed my equivalent for death warrant. But I said I was not resigning. He got very angry and said whether you like it or not, you’re going to leave that office, I cannot continue to work with you, either you or I will leave government,” he concluded.