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FG Responds To TSA Fraud Allegations, Dodges Clarification

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[caption id="attachment_2473" align="alignnone" width="612"]Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed[/caption]

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has responded to reports which claimed that the Treasury Single Account, (TSA) funds, is being diverted to bankroll elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States, adding that such rumours are only a “contrived distraction”.

Recall that there have also been several allegations and counter-allegations against the FGN and REMITA on the ongoing TSA and its remittance through REMITA into the TSA in CBN since March 2015.

Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, had on Sunday alleged that deductions made from the implementation of the TSA is being diverted to fund forthcoming election in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

However, the Information Minister, in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, said if “those behind the accusation had allowed themselves some measure of honesty, they would have realized that there has not and there will be no such impunity under the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is understandable that the psyche of those who are making the frivolous allegations concerning the TSA has been badly affected by the impunity that permeated the country under the immediate past Administration when unappropriated funds were freely used to finance elections and the public till was seen as an extension of personal piggy banks.

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“But the lies that have been wilfully disseminated by scandalmongers over the TSA cannot and will not fly, because it was designed specifically to put an end to such impunity that Nigerians voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari, who has an unblemished reputation for integrity, due process, transparency and the rule of law,” he said.

The Minister assured Nigerians that no one has tampered with the TSA funds, saying though the TSA was initiated under the previous Administration, the reason it has begun to attract national attention is because of the political will and transparency demonstrated by Buhari.

Speaking on the call made by Senator Dino Melaye to the senate, to investigate the implementation of the TSA, and the allegations that the company implementing it has made N25 billion for “doing nothing”, Muhammed said, “Those behind the rumour that a single company, Systemspecs, made 25 billion Naira from charging 1 percent of TSA funds that passed through the company’s software, Remita, may need to return to elementary school to get some lessons in arithmetic.

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“This is because in order for 1 per cent charge to fetch 25 billion Naira, the funds accruing into the TSA must have reached 2.5 trillion Naira. Yet, the total amount of funds in the TSA to date is still much less than 2 trillion.

“More importantly, at the time the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered that all monies that were erroneously charged as ‘revenue’ be returned to the TSA Account late last month, the TSA had less than 800 billion Naira. It, therefore, beggars belief that anyone could attempt to mislead the public by raising a false alarm that a firm made 25 billion Naira in TSA charges.”

He therefore called on Nigerians not to allow corrupt individuals in the country to sabotage the laudable TSA programme with contrived lies, dangerous innuendoes and outright misinformation.