ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Senate on Wednesday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to terminate with immediate effect the N25 billion contract with Remita, a Lagos-based e-collection company allegedly owned by a couple.
The upper legislative chamber also mandated its committees on Finance, Banking and other Financial Institutions, and Public Accounts to carry out a holistic investigation on the one percent of the sum of N2.5 trillion allegedly charged by Remita for collecting the amount on behalf of the Federal Government through the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy and report back in two weeks.
Also, the Red Chamber demanded for immediate return of all monies that had accrued Remita as agent to the TSA, as well as the prosecution of all the Remita’s directors in accordance to the provisions of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA).
The above resolutions were sequel to a motion sponsored by Senator Dino Melaye and 31 other senators on: Abuse and Management of the TSA Regime.
The motion frowned at the massive funds being siphoned by Remita.
“The Federal Government on 15th of September 2015 mopped up the sum of N2.5 trillion through its e-collection agent called Remita. Remita charges 1 percent of all monies passing through it, the implication of which 1 percent of the N2.5 trillion mopped up on the 15th of September alone amounted to N25 billion largesse to Remita for doing nothing.
“The appointment of Remita as an agent for the operations of the TSA negates and contravenes the constitution. The activities of Remita is a gross violation of the BOFIA Act and another attempt of ripping Nigerians of tax payers money,” Melaye said.
The motion received support from many senators, who noted that the CBN is the sole institution that is mandated to collect and disbursed monies on behalf of the Federal Government.
In his contribution, a surprised Senate Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, said: “I didn’t believe that this could happen under this government. However, if it is true, the people involved are saboteurs, and must be compelled to return the money, and face the wrath of the law”.
Ndume’s deputy, Senator Ibn Na’Allah, promised to get to the root of the matter.
“Some people hide under the umbrella of consultancy to defraud the nation, and resort to social media. The 8th Senate is distinct, and must do what is right, and in accordance with the law.
“The 8th Senate will not subject itself to public referendum through the social media. I want to assure Nigerians that the 8th Senate will bring whoever that is involved, and hunt him down,” he promised.
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe urged that the motion be treated, irrespective of party lines
“When matters like this come up, it is no longer treated as partisan; otherwise, I would have asked: where is the promised change? When the investigations are done, let us make it known because someone would have given this instruction. We need to know that person, who is so powerful.
“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 (ministries, departments and agencies) 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 N60 billion. One company is taking N60 billion of our money,” he said.
In his submission, Senator Akpan Bassey noted that the issue amongst others have contributed to unemployment issues, 98 percent of of which are youths.
“I will personally lead the youths of this country on a protest against this present administration, if nothing is done to address the current state We must rise that is total N25 million in one day, and is now N65 million,” he added.
Senator Shehu Sani said: “TSA is a good idea to move the economy forward, but it is clear that the idea is being abused and exploited. We have to investigate the matter”.
Senator John Enoh said: “Imagine that it did not happen. It is condemnable, and the 8 th Senate has to rise to the occasion. We have to wait for the investigation before recommending punitive actions”.
In her contribution, Senator Biodun Olujimi said: “TSA should capture revenue and not expenditure. But now, they are handling both; the investigation must be properly be carried out”.
Senator Kabiru Gaya added that: “This is government of change, and the 8th Senate should not leave any stone unturned in bringing the N25 billion back to the treasury”.
In his concluding remarks, the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, noted that Nigeria would no longer lose money to private organisations.
“This is a very important subject matter We hope that the Committee will do a very diligent job that will come up to standard and quantify the nature of the motion. The Committee has to quicken investigation because it is no longer acceptable for Nigeria to lose money to private organisations,” he added.
The Senate, thereafter, retired into an executive session, after which it adjourned Plenary Session to Tuesday, November, 17th.