By ADEBIYI ADEDAPO, Abuja
The ad hoc committee of the House of Representatives investigating compliance with the Treasury Single Account ( TSA) policy has threatened to declare Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) accounts worth N50 billion illegal if the agency fail to provide prove that the accounts were exempted from the TSA policy.
The committee also disclosed that it was working on a legislative framework to ensure that the TSA policy is made law.
Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Hon Abubakar Danburam-Nuhu, in a chat with Leadership explained that if the affected banks or NNPC fail to provide the approval within 48 hours, the account will be qualified as illegal, with all its consequences.
“If they fail to produce the approval, we will have to qualify the account as illegal and they are being operated illegally,” the Chairman said.
He stated further that ; “We have seen reasons in this committee that there is a need to have a legislation on TSA. And we are already working on a legislation so that we can put into perspective things that will be covered by law and people will be well guided, usually it is from a policy that we dovetail into legislative backing.”
According to him, the accounts, with funds worth N50bn, are still being kept by commercial banks in breach of the TSA policy, which provides that all accounts belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government should be transferred a single account domiciled with the CBN.
“At a later time, federal government on its own now felt that there are account that should be exempted from the TSA because of the operations of those accounts, and they decided to bring our another circular stating that these accounts are exempted.
“In the course of our investigation, we stumbled on accounts that are seated in banks and have not been swept into the TSA. Now the question is where is the approval for these accounts to stay outside TSA? Up till this moment we are waiting for the approval, we want the banks and the respective MDA involved,” he added.
The Chairman however noted that the investigation continues and other agencies guilty of any misdemeanour would be exposed.
“The investigation has only been able to discover NNPC accounts, there might be other agencies, I’m sure we might stumble on during the investigation,” he said.
The committee had on Tuesday raised questions over a “purported” presidential approval withholding some special Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation accounts from being transferred to the Treasury Single Account.
A Nigerian firm, SystemSpecs, provides the Remita electronic platform for running the TSA, saving the Federal Government revenue that could, ordinarily, have been lost.
The CBN confirmed to the committee that it was aware of the excluded accounts, pointing to a document tendered by the NNPC saying that there was a presidential approval.