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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the office of the accountant-general of the federation (OAGF) on Wednesday could not make clear statements regarding who authorised the one percent service charge drawn by Systemspecs for mopping of funds and remitting them to the single treasury account (TSA).
The senate probe followed a motion by Dino Melaye (Kogi west) in November alleging an abuse and mismanagement of the TSA and looted funds under the watchful eyes of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
Making his presentation at a public hearing organised by the joint senate committee on finance and public accounts, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, said that Systemspecs’ electronic-transaction platform, Remita, was engaged in 2012 to be used for mopping up funds from government ministries, agencies and departments for remittance to the federation account domiciled in the apex bank.
But Emefiele was unable to state categorically who authorised the one percent charge on every mopped-up fund by Remita. He admitted that the charge was too high, which was why the CBN suspended any payment to Systemspecs pending the outcome of the investigation of the senate.
When he was asked by John Enoh, chairman of the senate joint committee, who approved the charge, he said: “I need to check. I think the inter-department committee between the OAGF and CBN approved the one percent charge at the time.”
However, Ahmed Idris, accountant-general of the federation, said there was no agreement on the service charge between his office and the CBN. “My office and I are not part of this payment and we did not know how much was charged,” he said.
Emefiele had earlier disclosed that the amount of money in the TSA as of December 8 was N2.08trn. He said that only N1.49trn mopped up through Remita was subjected to the one percent service charge.
He added that the CBN now had its own transaction platform, and as a result Remita would no longer be of much use. The CBN governor also disclosed that payments, about N8bn, made to Systemspecs for Remita had been returned.
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