ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The duo of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) on Wednesday disowned Remita, the government contractor handling the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Though the AGF, Mallam Ahmed Idris, acknowledged the agreement, he, however, refused to sign it, claiming that he was not privy to it.
But the managing director of the SystemsSpecs (the company that owns Remita), Mr. John Tani Obaro, hinted that he took a business decision over a legal option to comply with CBN’s directive to return about N8 billion to the apex bank.
In his presentation before the Senate committees on Finance, Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, and Public Accounts on the remittance of the TSA funds, Governor of CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, claimed that he was not aware of the one percent agreement between the CBN and SystemsSpecs’ Remita.
Emefiele said that he only realised the details when he was invited by the House of Representatives.
He confirmed that the process of TSA started in 2010, but the launch and full implementation of TSA was in January 2012.
On the refund, he said that as at the time the reversal was ordered what has been collected was about N8 billion.
He, however, noted that there has been more money coming in just like the process has been put in place, after that time.
“They have not been charging. As at that time N800 billion was collected through the Remita platform, and that one percent came to about N8 billion, and that N8 billion as at the time it was taken was appropriated and the ratio was about 40/ 50/ 10 percent.
“Forty percent for the banks, 10 per cent for CBN, and 50 per cent for the SystemSpecs (Remita). But immediately we ordered that the money should be refunded the money we gathered from the three parties put together and returned to the MDAs accounts.
“On when we will resume the charges again, we will resume the charges when we agree on how to review the one percent. The one percent is exorbitant in my view, and I am very optimistic that Remita themselves having realised the dust that has been raised as a result of this charge, will themselves submit to a reduction in those charges.
“As far as I am concerned, I also believe that the Remita will see this as national assignment. I am not sure I understand the issue of payment of upfront. It was after the money was removed that the issue of one percent came in. I would love to be corrected, if I am wrong. Conflict in figures as at 8th of December could defer depending on the time the money was taken,” he said.
He offered explanations as to why the CBN stopped further payment of the 1 percent.
“I must confess that I did not know that 1 percent charge, that was being taken under the TSA until the Senate and the House raised it when we were summoned to the office of the Senate President. And I sounded very surprise that I was going to look into it.
“I did I was asked who was Mr. Obaro …I sounded very surprised, and it was immediately, after that, I immediately called the MD of SystemSpecs, and I made a call to him, and insisted that the money had to be reversed and it was reversed,” he explained.
In his submission, the AGF, Idris, explained that he refused to sign anything to that effect because he disagreed with the payment conditions.
He added that no monies have been sent via the OAGF since his assumption as the AGF.
“As far as I am concerned, there is no agreement between the CBN and our office that is duly signed. As far as I am concerned, my office has not made any payment to any service provider with respect to moving TSA.
“We have not made any payment. We have not engaged anybody, and therefore, we have not paid anybody.
“I don’t have any reason to hide any information. What I told you is what I know,” he said.
Chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator John Enoh, praised the courage of the CBN Governor.
“As we sit back, we will further invite for closer engagement some of the issues before we come up with a solution.”
It would be recalled that on Wednesday, November 11, the Senate instructed the aforementioned committees to carry out a holistic investigation on the remittance of the TSA funds.
Following the disclosure on a three prayer motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye, the upper legislative chamber also directed the CBN to immediately stop payment to the company.