A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday, ordered parties in the suit by suspended Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, seeking to restrain the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, from investigating him to maintain status quo.
Trial judge, Justice James Tsoho, made the preservative order, pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Sanusi is in the suit contending that by virtue of the provisions of Sections 7, 8, and 62 of the FRCN Act 2011, the Council lacked the statutory powers to investigate him and the CBN.
He is also seeking a declaration that the FRCN, constituting itself into an investigating body in a manner contained in some newspaper publications of March 24, is ultra vires its powers.
Defendants in the suit are the FRCN and The Executive Secretary of FRCN.
Meanwhile, FRCN has filed a preliminary objection, challenging the suit.
The court has adjourned till April 11 to hear the substantive suit.
It will be recalled that Sanusi had on March 27 refused to appear before the Council which was investigating allegations of financial recklessness against him.
In a letter to the Executive Secretary of FRCN, Mr Jim Obazee, to explain why his client would not honour the Councilâ€™s invitation, Sanusiâ€™s lawyer, Mr. Kola Awodein, SAN, said the invitation was not only in bad faith, but premeditated to embarrass and disparage his client.
President Goodluck Jonathan had suspended Mr. Sanusi from office on February 21, 2014 following the recommendation by the Council, which accused the CBN, under his leadership, of financial recklessness.
The recommendations followed the Councilâ€™s review of Sanusiâ€™s response to its report on the audited financial statement of the CBN for the year ended December 2012 and other related issues, which it described as unsatisfactory.
Following the receipt of the Councilâ€™s invitation on March 14, 2014, Sanusi said he responded two days later seeking clarification on the specific activities of the CBN the FRCN was investigating, adding that since no response was forthcoming from the Council, he did not see any need to honour the invitation, noting that he was surprised to see advertorials in newspapers and other media publicizing the invitation.
He described the adverts as evidence of the Councilâ€™s avowed intent to act prejudicially, appalling that he was being invited after the Council had arrived at the â€œfalse and malicious conclusionsâ€ in its Briefing Note of June 7, 2013, on which the President relied to suspend him from office.
He said the Councilâ€™s report lacked integrity since the FRCN neither gave him fair hearing, nor allowed him the opportunity to respond to the weighty allegations contained in the Briefing Note to the President.
Sanusi added that a review of Sections 7, 8, 11, 25, 28, 58(2) and 62 of the FRC Act 2011 revealed that the Council lacked the authority and powers to conduct the investigation it was seeking to undertake.
He said he was, however, constrained to decline the FRCNâ€™s invitation for some compelling reasons.
The council, after receiving Mr. Sanusiâ€™s court papers last Thursday halted investigations of the bank chief but said it would continue with the CBN.