Senate seeks TSA suspension on N25bn fraud allegation.


Following allegation of N25 billion in the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Senate on Wednesday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance to suspend lodgments to allow investigation of the system.
Senator Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) had in a motion raised alarm over alleged payment of N25 billion to one e-collection firm, REMITA, in one day as one per cent of monies transferred.

Consequent upon this, the chamber directed its Committee on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions and Public Accounts to look into the matter and report back in two weeks.

The lawmakers 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.

Melaye said that the Federal Government on September 15 mopped up the sum of N2.5 trillion through REMITA and noted that the N25 billion is one percent of the amount remitted.
He argued that the appointment of REMITA as an agent for the implementation of the TSA was a contravention of section 162(1) which mandated only the CBN to handle government revenue.
REMITA, he said also contravened the BOFIA Act 2007 which forbids any institution which is not incorporated as a bank to transact banking businesses. This attracts a prison term of 10 years or a fine of N2 million.
The lawmakers argued against a third party like REMITA in the implementation of the TSA policy and insisted that investigation be carried out and those culpable be sanction accordingly.
Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume expressed disbelief of such transaction and argued that the charges was outrageous no matter the platform utilised.
“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,’’ Ndume said.
Sen. Eyinaya Abaraibe raised more alarm when he alleged that the amount had even risen to over N60 billion since September 15 when the transfer of N2.5 trillion was made.
He said that much more money had been paid to the TSA through REMITA and the company had religiously taken one per cent of the sums.
Abaribe argued that senators should go beyond party lines to handle such issues bordering on corruption and ripping off Nigerians of their common wealth.
“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 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 60 billion; one company is taking 60 billion of our money?” he queried.
Deputy Leader of the Senate, Ibn Na’Allah, stressed that no more should the nation allow any company to hide under the role of consultancy to charge outrageously for its services.
Other contributors noted that some people were attempting to derail the APC-led government and that such people must not be spared.
However, some of the over 19 senators who contributed to the motion urged the senate not to take a position until the committee concluded its investigation.

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