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No amount of blackmail will stop N25bn TSA probe – Saraki

The President of the Senate, Sen. Bukola Saraki,
has said that no amount of intimidation will stop
the assembly from investigating the alleged N25
billion Treasury Single Account (TSA) fraud. Saraki
was reacting to a motion moved by Sen. Dino
Melaye (APC-Kogi West) on Tuesday over a
newspaper article allegedly blackmailing the
Senate for pointing out the alleged fraud.
He said the
assembly
would not
relent in
carrying out its
constitutional
duties,
including
pointing out
any action that
would be
detrimental to Nigerians. “No amount of either
blackmail or intimidation will stop us from doing
the work we have to do.
“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 to salvage the situation; it is our
responsibility.
“ The fact about the TSA will come out and
everybody will have opportunity before the
committee to state the fact, the facts will speak for
themselves,’’ he said. Saraki said the assembly
would expedite action on the inauguration of
Standing Committees to enable it to begin its
oversight function fully.
Earlier, Melaye said his attention was drawn to the
write-up accusing the Senate of working against
President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to
implement TSA.
He expressed concern that the writer could
conceive such an idea in spite of the National
Assembly’s resolve to work with Buhari in fighting
corruption.
Melaye recalled that it was the assembly’s stand on
the alleged TSA fraud that led SystemSpecs to
refund the one per cent it collected from mopped
up funds to Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “The
writer said we are against the change agenda of Mr
President because we raised the abnormality going
on with the implementation of the TSA.
“We did not at any time in this Hallowed Chamber
implicate President Muhammadu Buhari of being
involved in TSA fraud. “ 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, parochial and unacceptable. “I
have a letter here that I am going to lay with this
paper, written by the Director, Banking and
Payment of CBN to the Managing Director of
SystemSpecs.
“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 as irresponsible, it
is not acceptable to me and the Senate. “Never
would we allow blackmail and political and
economic bigots to destroy the people. We are for
the people and we will stand in defence of public
interest,’’ he said. The write-up and letters cited by
Melaye were referred to the Senate Committee on
Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition to be returned
to Senate in one week.
The Senate had on Nov. 11 raised alarm over
alleged payment of N25 billion to one e-collection
firm, REMITA, in one day as one per cent of monies
transferred to TSA. It also directed its Committee
on Finance, Banking and other Financial
Institutions and Public Accounts to carry out a
holistic investigation into the matter and report
back in two weeks.

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