The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on Thursday disclosed how the implementation of the Treasury Single Account, TSA, led to the recovery of the sum of N1.6 billion from an unidentified account in a single branch of deposit money bank.
Adeosun, who stated this while appearing before the Abubakar Nuhu Damburam-led House of Representatives Committee probing the level of implementation of the TSA policy of the Federal Government, explained that the feat was achieved by a consulting firm engaged by the Finance Ministry.
She spoke following concerns raised by Danburam, saying that N540million was paid to engage consultants for a job that could have been done by federal auditors at no cost to the government.
The minister also said that that government has achieved close to 100 percent compliance from the 1,678 ministry, department and agencies, MDAs, so far enrolled into the policy, adding that it would be difficult achieve 100 per cent but the money spent engaging consultants has yielded tremendous results.
The Minister, who did not disclose the identity of those who lodged the money and the commercial bank involved, maintained that the Federal Government is getting good value for the money spent on engaging the 17 consulting firms, which performed similar feat by beaming their searchlights on 21 other banks using specialised software to track hidden accounts operated by MDAs.
She further disclosed that the consultants also recovered an additional N400 million excess charges from one of the commercial banks into the treasury single account.
Adeosun, however, admitted that there are dollar denominated accounts like those of foreign missions and the Nigerian National petroleum corporation, NNPC, yet to be captured by the TSA.
In his testimony, the Accountant General of the federation, Mr Ahmed Idris told the panel that his office is already working in concert with the office of the Auditor General of the federation to ensure effective implementation of the TSA policy.
Idris, who spoke in response to a poser by Damburam as to why there was no synergy between his office and the Auditor General of the Federation’s, AuGF, office
explained that the recent decision to organise a training programme for 60 staffers of the Office of the Auditor General was aimed at achieving the desired objectives.
In her opinion, Adeosun stated that the Auditor General, who runs a statutory office and reports only to the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly, shouldn’t wait to be invited before auditing TSA accounts.
She said if her Office starts inviting auditors from the AuGF to come and do it’s constitutional function then, there should be cause for worry, as the Auditor’s Office is an external body to the Ministry and not answerable to the Executive arm.