- Orders refund of excess payments
- Probes DStv’s unwholesome practices
Senate yesterday recommended termination of contract the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN had with Systemspecs, an e-revenue collection platform for the Treasury Single Account, TSA operation.
The upper legislative chamber also recommended that the apex bank should remit N656.5million to Systemspecs as its own commission for the N800billion revenue remitted into TSA accounts as at October last year as against N7.6 billion earlier collected by the firm based on one per cent commission charges.
It resolved that, rather than the alleged fraudulent one percent commission charges on any amount paid into the account by any of the e-payment platforms, that N700 be paid as commission on any transaction made by them.
These were fall outs of reports of Senate’s Joint Committee on Finance, Banking, Insurance and Public Accounts that carried out investigation on alleged N25billion commission charges collected by REMITA, an e-collection platform of Systemspecs on revenues remitted into TSA accounts.
Senate, in approving all the 10 recommendations made by the joint committee as presented by the chairman, Senator John Enoh (PDP Cross River Central), also directed that the CBN should ensure total refund of the portion of deductions retained by it and affected Deposit Money Banks, DMBs.
It also directed the CBN to open up the space to other e- collection providers for competition, effectiveness , efficiency and greater robustness.
Senate further directed that all agreed fees and payments for e-collection service should not be borne by MDAs but provided and disbursed from a central pool.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki said senate’s action on the TSA operation was not totally against the idea, but finding out how it is being managed to save the nation from any sharp practices.
“I think that the message we are sending out today is very clear, that our interest lies in ensuring proper use of funds, this senate will stand firmly for that and this goes back to the issues where people wonder the usefulness or value of the parliament and I think this is a good example. By this action, this country is saving close to between N22billion to over N30 billion which is higher than the appropriation of a lot of ministries, department and agencies, MDAs.
“When motion for this investigation was raised in October last year, a lot of noise was made that it was just because the senate didn’t want to support TSA, but this report categorically applauds the TSA but the issue is that the cost of doing the transaction should not undermine the good purpose of the TSA and I think that was what we have done today.
“We will have to ensure that the respective agencies, particularly CBN, must refund this money, complying strictly with this observations and recommendations of the senate.
“It is mind boggling to see the kind of money that would have just gone away to bribing people’s hands if not because this motion came, I want to encourage our colleagues to ensure that despite the kind of blackmail that we received in doing our work, we should follow the examples that have been shown by these three committees, that when we have this sort of issues we must stand for what we believe is right.
“The work is not done yet, we must see proof that this money has been refunded, we must see proof that the contracts have been terminated and must see proofs that in going forward, the new rate for payment of commission, is enforced,” he stressed.
But the Managing Director of Systemspecs, owner of the REMITA e-collection platform, Mr John Obaro, had while making submissions before the joint committee in December last year explained that the one percent charge was not for REMITA alone but shared along with CBN itself and other DMBs on the ratio of 50 per cent for REMITA, 40 percent for other DMBs and the remaining 10 per cent for CBN.
The Systemspecs boss, who gave graphic details of how his firm ran into troubled waters with CBN over the charges, lamented that the latest development, portrays them as being used and dumped by the federal government on the laudable exercise.