Reps say OAGF’s payment of N15bn to Remita illegal, accuse CBN of complicity

The Director of Banking Services of the CBN, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi, said they deemed it fit to source for an alternative way of remitting revenue and Remita and System Spec were selected because they had been rendering similar services to banks.

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Reps,  OAGF, payment of N15bn, Remita, illegal, accuse CBN, complicityThe House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has queried the the Office of the Accountant General for the Federation (OAGF) over what it described as an illegal payment of N15 billion to Remita, a payment platform from .

The committee accused the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Commercial Banks of complicity in the sharing of the N150 billion remittance.

Rep. Bamidele Salam, Chairman PAC, made the allegation at the resumed investigative hearing on revenue leakages in Abuja on Thursday.

BRANDPOWER reports that Remita is a payment solution that helps individuals and business make and receive payment, pay bills and manage their finances.

Salam said that the payment of N15 billion to Remita from the OAGF from 2016 to 2018 was questionable, adding that the OAGF paid the mobey without agreement or contract.

He described the payment as illegal. “The money is an illegal payment; there was no budget provision, so where did they source the money from?” the chairman queried.

“The CBN also shared in the money. The money is an illegal payment; there was no budget provision, so where did they source the money from?”

According to him, for instance, if someone pays N150 as a remitter, you will now pay 7.5 percent Value-Added Tax (VAT) in addition to it.

“Ordinarily, that whole sum of VAT ought to go to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), but what they are doing in this transaction is that they will now add that VAT to the N150.

“They will add it up, gather the money together, and take it to the CBN,”” he alleged.

He said, “System Spec and Remitta, both collecting revenue for the federal government, will share 50 percent, while the banks and the CBN will also have their share.”

He said that by the time the Committee finished its reconciliation, “I am very sure that hundreds of billions of naira will be the VAT component that was not remitted to FIRS.”

According to him, each bank ought to take the money and directly remit it to FIRS.

“Now Remita is saying that those collecting  should calculate the money that has been shared into shreds.How do we track this kind of money? “he asked.

The Director of Banking Services of the CBN, Mr Ahmed Abdullahi, said they deemed it fit to source for an alternative way of remitting revenue and Remita and System Spec were selected because they had been rendering similar services to banks.

According to him, Remita was engaged in 2011 and operations commenced in 2012 with system module names.

The CBN only finalised the  transaction

He said that the fees charged under the TSA were in line with the structure of banking. The volume of revenue collection that passed through Remita was N86 million.

Mr. Oyewole Adewale, Chief Accountant, TSA Department, representing the Accountant General for the Federation, accused the CBN of not honoring its letters to reconcile the revenue accrued to the country through TSA.

He said the OAGF had developed a system where all revenue generated by the Ministries of Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) could now be monitored without any interference.

Mr Aderemi Atanda, the Director of  Remita Payment Services Ltd., while reading the summary of the TSA collection record, said that 10, 20, and 50 percent were shared among CBN, commercial banks, and Remitta.

He said that collections are usually not static, adding that they vary.

“From 2015 to 2016, it was N4.2 million, and the fee paid was N8.5 billion; in 2016, N1.3 billion was paid.”