The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has run into troubled waters as the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance to suspend further remittances into the account pending investigation over allegations of fraud in the system.
The directive came on the alarm raised by Sen. Dino Melaye (APC Kogi West) over alleged payment of N25 billion to one e-collection firm Systemspecs owners of REMITA involved in the collection.
Thewhistler learnt that the firm receives one per cent of monies transferred from commercial banks to the CBN daily.
Melaye in a motion said that the Federal Government on Sept. 15 mopped up the sum of N2.5 trillion through REMITA, arguing that 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.
Speaking further, the senator said that REMITA also contravened the BOFIA Act 2007 which forbids any institution which is not incorporated as a bank to carryout banking businesses.
According to Melaye, contravention of the BOFIA Act attracted a prison term of 10 years or a fine of N2 million.
In his contribution, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaraibe (PDP Abia South) alleged that the amount was in excess of N60 billion since Sept. 15 when the transfer of N2.5 trillion was made.
According to the Senator, REMITA had religiously deducted one per cent of the sums since the policy came into effect on Sept 15, urging his colleagues to go beyond party lines and support the calls for suspension as a few persons were ripping off Nigerians of their commonwealth.
“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.
Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, miffed by the allegation, wondered why a company could be paid that sum of money ‘’just to transfer money to the CBN’’.
“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.
fter several arguments, the Upper Chamber resolved that the 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.
It therefore directed its Committee on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions and Public Accounts to carry out a holistic investigation on the matter and report back in two weeks.