Senate Seeks Suspension Of TSA Over N25bn ‘Fraud’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Senate Seeks Suspension Of TSA Over N25bn ‘Fraud’

Posted: Nov 12, 2015 at 9:00 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

The Senate yesterday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Ministry of Finance to suspend further payment into the Treasury Single Account (TSA) to allow it investigate an alleged fraud amounting to N25 billion.

It resolved that suspension of payment into the TSA would ensure that no further money was taken by the company in the event that the allegations were found to be true.

According to the Senate, the suspension of payment into the TSA is to ensure that no further money was defrauded by the company handling the scheme, “REMITA” in the events that the allegations against it are found to be true.

The Senate took the decision after considering a motion by Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) over the alleged payment of N25 billion as commission in one day to REMITA, being one per cent of monies transferred into TSA.

While commending President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing the policy, the Senate wondered if the present administration, with its anti-corruption policy, would allow a company to rip off the nation. It, therefore, directed its Committee on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions and Public Account to carry out a holistic investigation to probe the matter and report back in two weeks.

While moving the motion, Melaye said the Federal Government, on September 15, mopped up N2.5 trillion through the e-collection agent “REMITA”. He said REMITA charged one per cent of any amount it remitted to the TSA, which amounted to N25 billion made by the company on September 15 alone.

Melaye said the appointment of REMITA as an agent for the operation of the TSA was a contravention of section 162(1), which mandated only the CBN to handle government revenue. He added that REMITA contravened the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2007, which forbids any institution, which is not incorporated as a bank to carry out banking businesses. He said the contravention of the BOFIA Act attracts a prison term of 10 years or a fine of N2 million.

Some of the senators who contributed to the motion said a third party like REMITA was not needed to ensure compliance with the TSA policy let alone a company that should be paid in billions.

They said if the investigation were concluded and some people were found culpable, they should be brought to book. Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, who was visibly worried by the allegation, expressed disbelief that a company could have been paid that much just to transfer money to the CBN. He said no matter the platform utilised, the amount was too much and as such must be investigated.

“Let us take this seriously and I hope that after investigation, if it is true that somebody is involved in this, then he is a saboteur trying to do things like it was done in the past,” he stated.

Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, however, added that the amount had even risen to over N60 billion since September 15 when the transfer of N2.5 trillion was done. He said more money had been paid to the TSA through REMITA and the company had taken its one per cent commission. He urged senators to go beyond party lines to handle such issues bordering on corruption and ripping off the nation’s economy.

“Somebody made this decision and we must ask; who gave this order; who is that person in this country that is so powerful to direct Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to pay money into a private account? “We should not cover anybody in this investigation, no matter how highly placed.

“We are hearing that the money has gone up to N60 billion; one company is taking N60 billion of our money,” he said. The Deputy Leader of the Senate, Senator Ibn Na’Allah, stressed that no more should the nation allow any company to hide under the role of consultancy to charge outrageously for services rendered. Other contributors noted that some people were making effort to derail the All Progressives Congressled government and such people must not be spared.

However, some of the over 19 senators who contributed to the motion urged the Senate not to conclude yet until the committee was done with its investigations.

Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi Central) warned that the Senate should be mindful of pursuing the case, urging that proper investigations must be done first. Senate President Bukola Saraki, who took over from his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, midway into plenary, said that the motion was very important.

He charged the committee to ensure that it carried out intensive investigation into the matter and submit its report within two weeks. The Senate thereafter went into an executive session from where it adjourned plenary to November 17 to allow the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators attend the party’s rebranding launch, holding today in Abuja.


Comments (1)

  • Nov 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm icijackal

    1 would like to ask CBN Governor Godwin emefile to please come out and explain this. Also the Accountant general of the federation must explain this.

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