TSA: No going back on N25bn REMITA probe – Senate

*Senate Chamber of Nigeria's national assembly.

*Senate Chamber of Nigeria’s national assembly.

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

18 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Senate yesterday insisted that it would continue with its investigation into the alleged N25 billion paid as commission to an e-collection firm, REMITA engaged for the Treasury Single Account ( TSA), in spite of insinuations being made against its motive in certain quarters.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, made the declaration while reacting to a motion moved by Senator Dino Melaye over a newspaper article allegedly blackmailing the upper legislative chamber investigating the alleged fraud.

The upper legislative chamber had on November 11 informed through a motion that REMITA collected N25 billion in one day as one per cent commission of monies transferred to TSA.

It therefore directed its Committees on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions and Public Accounts to investigate the matter and report back in two weeks.

Saraki vowed that no amount of intimidation will stop the Senate from investigating the alleged fraud, explaining that it was part of the Senate’s constitutional duties to point out any individual or group’s action that would be injurious to the country.

He said: “No amount of either blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing the work we have to do.

“We have a responsibility here to ensure that there are no leakages in government funds and if there are, we will call the attention of the public and do whatever it takes to salvage the situation; it is our responsibility.

“The fact about the TSA will come out and everybody will have opportunity before the committee to state the fact, the facts will speak for themselves.”

Saraki, who later referred the write-up and letters to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for thorough investigation, added that committees to carry out the needed probe on the alleged N25 billion commission would soon be inaugurated.

Senator Melaye while raising the motion, expressed concern over the write-up which alleged that the Senate was working against President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to implement the TSA.

He pointed out that it was the motion on the alleged TSA fraud and decision of the Senate to probe it that led SystemSpecs to refund the one per cent it collected from mopped up funds to Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

According to him, “The writer said we are against the change agenda of Mr President because we raised the abnormality going on with the implementation of the TSA.

“We did not at any time in this hallowed chamber implicate President Muhammadu Buhari of being involved in TSA fraud.

“We will not stop carrying out our legislative duties for fear of being blackmailed.“The motion moved last week had two prayers.

“The first thing we did was to thank Mr President and commend him for the implementation of the TSA and for anyone to say the Senate is fighting Mr. President is myopic, parochial and unacceptable.”

He added, “I have a letter here that I am going to lay with this paper, written by the Director, Banking and Payment of CBN to the Managing Director of SystemSpecs.
The CBN categorically stated that they should remit the one per cent that they collected.

“I also have a letter here by the managing director of that company to the Accountant General of the Federation and the Governor of CBN that have completely buttressed and elicited our decision last week.”

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