Senate won’t drop TSA probe, says Saraki
Written by Taiwo Adediran on November 18, 2015
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Tuesday reiterated the determination of the upper chamber to investigate the alleged N25bn largesse earned by an e-collection agent, REMITA, for assisting the Federal Government to transfer its funds in the commercial banks to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Saraki, who was reacting to a point of order moved by Senator Dino Melaye, over a newspaper publication which chastised the Senate over the issue, insisted that the upper chamber would not be blackmailed to dump the probe.
He said, “It is time the committees are inaugurated so that they can start work immediately, because this matter came up last week and we have set up three committees to take a look at the issue.
“No amount of either blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing the work we have to do. The fact will come out and everybody will have an opportunity before that committee to state the fact.
“The fact will come out and speak for themselves. We have a responsibility here to ensure that there are no leakages in government funds. And if there are, we will call the attention of the public and do whatever it takes and no amount of intimidation will stop us. It is our responsibility.”
Melaye had explained that the writer of the newspaper publication had alleged that the Senate was against the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, by raising the abnormality going on with the implementation of the Treasure Single Account.
He said, “We did not at any time in this chamber implicate President Muhammadu Buhari of being involved in the TSA controversy. We will not stop carrying out our legislative duties for fear of being blackmailed. The motion moved last week had two prayers.
“The first thing we did was to thank Mr. President and commend him for the implementation of the TSA and for anyone to say the Senate is fighting Mr. President is myopic; it is parochial. It is unacceptable to the Senate of the Eighth Assembly.
“I have a letter here that I am going to lay with this paper, written by the Director, Banking and Payment, CBN, to the Managing Director of Systemspec, where the CBN categorically stated that they should remit the one per cent that they collected. “I also have a letter here by the Managing Director of that company to the Accountant General of the Federation and the Governor of CBN that have completely buttressed and elicited our decision last week.
“So, for people to blackmail us is irresponsible. It is not acceptable to me and the Senate. Never would we allow blackmail and political and economic bigot to destroy the people. We are for the people and we will stand in the defence of public interest.”
Melaye therefore prayed the Senate to investigate the content of the newspaper publication. Saraki subsequently referred it to the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for proper investigation and submit the report within one week.Meanwhile, the Senate spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, said on Tuesday that the three panels saddled with the responsibility of investigating the alleged TSA scam would be inaugurated by Saraki on Wednesday .
Abdullahi told journalists after the plenary that the committees on Finance, Banking and other financial institutions, including that of Public Account, would be inaugurated formally by the Senate President so that they could start work immediately.