Edmund Burke- The Irish statesman mentioned in his affirmative quote that, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. The news hovering around the media spaces on the alleged secrecy and unauthorised payments to the agents involved in the full implementation of the Treasury Single Account may have pitched the ‘good men’ against their ‘evil’ counterparts pending the conclusion of investigation.
Recall that in my last Op-Ed, I penned down an article discussing the need to have a transparent process and a solid structure in place, in line with standard international practices that will ensure a hitch free implementation of the Treasury Single Account. I went ahead to x-ray the point of order raised by Senator Dino Melaye Representing Kogi West Senatorial District and why such ‘discovery’ shouldn’t be a material for the trash bin. The rest of the article can be accessed here-http://omojuwa.com/2015/11/wale-bakare-why-the-8th-senate-is-not-opposed-to-the-implementation-of-treasury-single-account.
Contrary to earlier rebuttal by the Federal Government spokesperson and Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed, who in his previous interview denied the alleged N25 billion commission paid to Systemspec being 1% of the total funds that passed through its Software – REMITA. To further buttress his claim, Lai Mohammed challenged anyone who has any fact and figure on the alleged amount paid to come out and make such information public.
The invitation by the Senate Committee on Finance blew the can open on what could have been one of the best kept secret of all times. And Mr Lai Mohammed’s wish was granted almost immediately with the statements made by the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria -Mr Emefiele and John Obaro of Systemspecs.
While the federal government spokesperson wants us to believe that the TSA fund is intact, the CBN absolved itself from the dealings, and admitted that 1% commission was transferred to REMITTANCE and its intervention led to the retrieval of the paid amount. In another development, John Obaro of SystemSpecs claimed CBN was in agreement with their company and as such cannot deny knowledge of the remitted funds.
In an attempt to make further clarifications the CBN governor insist that he was not privy to the 1% charge until he was summoned by the Senate and House representatives. He said further that, ‘’Remittance was to take 50 percent, other banks, 40 percent and CBN, 10 per cent. The monies were put together by the three companies involved and paid back to the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). It was after the money was moved that the one percent was taken. Our balance could defer depending the time of when it was taken’’. He concluded. As it stands, questions are required of all the principal actors to account for their role in the fund transfer. The Central Bank of Nigeria saddled with the enormous responsibility of collecting and disbursing funds on behalf of the Federal government will equally shed more light on whose authority the commission was paid.
However, this new twist to the TSA shenanigan questions this present government’s resolve to sincerely fight corruption and block the loopholes draining the treasury. It is sad that a system that is meant to curb corruption is now being used to enrich a few people and the gladiators are shifting goalpost rather than admitting their inadequacies. This discovery, again has demonstrated the need for independence of both the executive and the legislative arm In discharging their duties.
In the coming days, Mr Lai Mohammed should issue a public apology for deliberately misleading the general public while the Senate ongoing investigations must be concluded to bring anyone found guilty to book. It is an established fact that the 8th Senate led by Bukola Saraki has been vindicated and thus raise further questions on the motive of those blackmailing the Senate in order to prevent the probe as seen by the desperate measures deployed by SystemSpec in the pages of the newspaper to scuttle the probe.
The accusations and counter accusation surrounding the TSA and any previous agreement reached should be declared void ab inito until investigations are concluded. The 8thSenate may not always get it right, but it has demonstrated its readiness in carrying out their oversight functions in the interest of Nigeria. As we bask in the euphoria of how much more can be achieved when we’re truly committed to people oriented policies, it is also important to cooperate and support our lawmakers with useful legislations to deliver the much needed change.
Bakare, a writer and social media enthusiast wrote in via [email protected]