Alleged Fraud In TSA: Minister Says Fayose, Melaye, Others Need To Go Back To Primary School To Learn Maths
The new Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed swung into action in his new position as mouthpiece of the federal government as he lambasted those making allegations of fraud in the Treasury Single Account, TSA, asking them to return to elementary school to learn some lessons in arithmetic.
The TSA policy, which was recently enforced by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, has recently come under the spotlight with rumours making the rounds that it has been diverted to fund the elections of All Progressives Congress governorship candidates in Bayelsa and Kogi States.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, had on Sunday said deductions made from the implementation of the TSA – allegedly put at N25 billion – by the collecting agent, Systemspecs, is being diverted to fund the governorship poll in Kogi State this Saturday and the forthcoming one in Bayelsa State.
In what was his first official assignment, the new information minister in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, said if “those behind the accusation had allowed themselves some measure of honesty, they would have realized that there has not and there will be no such impunity under the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is understandable that the psyche of those who are making the frivolous allegations concerning the TSA has been badly affected by the impunity that permeated the country under the immediate past Administration, when unappropriated funds were freely used to finance elections and the public till was seen as an extension of personal piggy banks.
“But the lies that have been wilfully disseminated by scandalmongers over the TSA cannot and will not fly, because it was precisely to put an end to such impunity that Nigerians voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari, who has an unblemished reputation for integrity, due process, transparency and the rule of law”, he said.
The Minister assured Nigerians that no one has tampered with the TSA funds, adding that though the TSA policy was initiated under the previous PDP administration, the reason it has begun to enjoy a new lease of life and attract national attention is because of the political will and transparency demonstrated by the Buhari administration.
It would be recalled that the Senate had last week adopted a motion raised by Senator Dino Melaye (APC/Kogi) seeking the probe of the implementation of the TSA over allegations that Systemspecs has made N25 billion in commission for “doing nothing”.
Again, the information minister said “Those behind the rumour that a single company, Systemspecs, made 25 billion Naira from charging 1 per cent of TSA funds that passed through the company’s software, Remita, may need to return to elementary school to get some lessons in arithmetic”.
Giving reasons for his sarcastic remarks for those alleging fraud in the TSA to go back to elementary school, Mr. Mohammed said for 1 per cent charge to fetch 25 billion Naira, the funds accruing into the TSA must have reached 2.5 trillion Naira.
This, he said, was not the case as the total amount of funds in the TSA to date is still much less than 2 trillion.
“More importantly, at the time the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered that all monies that were erroneously charged as ‘revenue’ be returned to the TSA Account late last month, the TSA had less than 800 billion Naira. It therefore beggars belief that anyone could attempt to mislead the public by raising a false alarm that a firm made 25 billion Naira in TSA charges”, the minister added.
Mr. Mohammed, therefore, appealed to Nigerians not to allow those who have been funding their lavish lifestyles and encouraging corruption, to the detriment of ordinary citizens and without bothering about national interest, to sabotage the laudable TSA programme with contrived lies, dangerous innuendos and outright misinformation.