The Senate is set begin the process of investigating the alleged N25bn largesse earned by an e-collection agent, REMITA, being one per cent of the entire N2.5tn revenues paid into the Treasury Single Account, domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said the three committees of the upper chamber saddled with the responsibility of probing the alleged illegal transactions might begin work this week.
Also, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, said the clerks of the affected panels would on Tuesday make available the referral being the working documents needed to start the probe.
Abdullahi noted that the Senate was desirous of investigating the alleged TSA scam hence its decision to refer it to its joint committee on finance; banking and other financial institutions; and public account, to carry out a holistic probe into the transaction and report its findings within four weeks.
He said the Senate panels would have started work on the probe last week but for the fact that they had yet to be inaugurated by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Abdullahi said, “The probe of the alleged fraudulent transactions involving the Treasury Single Account is very important to the Senate and the leadership is desirous of conducting a holistic investigation into it.
“The fact that the standing committees have not been inaugurated does not mean that the joint committees won’t submit their report on the investigation as directed by the Senate President.
“The committees already have chairmen and vice chairmen and they have already started preliminary actions with their clerks pending their inauguration, probably next week.”
Ibrahim, on his part, said that once the referral had been received from the clerks of the three panels, the committee chairmen and their deputies would start work immediately.
It will be recalled that the Senate had on Wednesday alleged that some illegal transactions took place during the recently-concluded transmission of the Federal Government’s revenues into the TSA, which was domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The upper chamber had, therefore, ordered three of its committees to immediately begin the probe of the alleged fraudulent transactions.
The senators in plenary had noted with concern that the transaction was contracted to a firm, REMITA, an e-collection agent, which collected one per cent of the N2.5tn revenues paid into the TSA.
They further alleged that the one per cent payment, translated to N25bn earned by REMITA on a single transaction.
They argued that the action was a gross violation of Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution.
Apart from this, they maintained that the N25bn paid to the company was not all that had so far been paid to REMITA, because payment to the company since then had remained a continuous process.
According to the senators, Section 162(1) of the 1999 Constitution provides that the federation shall maintain a special account to be called ‘the federation account’ into which all revenues collected by the government of the federation, should be paid.
They however said proceeds from the personal income tax of the personnel of the Armed Forces of the federation, the Nigeria Police Force, the ministry or department of government charged with foreign affairs and the residents of the FCT, Abuja, were exempted.
The Senate, on the strength of the argument, therefore mandated its joint committee on finance; banking and other financial institutions; and that of public account to carry out a holistic investigation into the transaction and report its findings within four weeks.
It also directed the Ministry of Finance and the CBN to suspend forthwith, payment to the consultant firm, REMITA, until the outcome of the investigation was made public.