The Fourth Estate on Thursday, August 24, 2023, responded to a rejoinder the Chairman of Parliament’s Finance Committee sent to us about our publications on the House granting a $4-million tax exemption to 4-Mac Limited for the construction of a hotel under the One District, One Factory project. Mr Kwarteng has issued a counter-rejoinder to our response. In accordance with our editorial policy, we are publishing the rejoinder exactly as it was received.
- I write with reference to Article 162(6) of the national constitution to respectfully ask
The Fourth Estate to publish this rejoinder to the publication by Victoria Enyonam Adonu
dated August 24, 2023, and captioned “The Fourth Estate’s response to Finance
Committees’ rejoinder on $4m tax waiver under 1D1F”.
- Following an earlier publication in The Fourth Estate (by the same person) to the effect
that the Ministry of Finance had requested, and Parliament had granted 1D1F tax incentives for a hotel project, I responded on behalf of the Finance Committee. I clarified that references to the one-district-one-factory (1D1F) initiative in the Committee’s report were erroneous and that the conclusion reached by the publication that the Ministry of Finance had requested, and Parliament had granted 1D1F incentives for a hotel project was false.
- I publicly apologised for the errors and expressed the Committee’s commitment to learn
lessons from the incident and to avoid such mistakes going forward.
- In spite of the preponderance of evidence in public records to the contrary, The Fourth
Estate has maintained that there is incontrovertible evidence that Parliament granted 1D1F
tax incentives to a hotel. The Fourth Estate is free to draw its own conclusion about a set
of facts or documents, but The Fourth Estate is not free to publish the kind of dishonest
representations it has published on this matter. I seek to address these dishonest
- First, The Fourth Estate has repeatedly stated in its publications that I (the Chairman
for the Finance Committee of Parliament) was contacted about this story but declined to
speak and rather referred them to the Ministry of Finance. This is both false and dishonest. On 31 July 2023, I received the following WhatsApp message: “My name is Victoria Adonu, a journalist. I am filing a report on the progress made on the Tax
Exemption Act and other tax incentives in Ghana and their impact. I called earlier
to request an interview with you this week. I will be standing for your response.”
- Given that it is the Ministry of Finance and GRA that are responsible for the
implementation of the Exemptions Act and other tax incentives, I gave the following reply: “Thanks for getting in touch. Please speak with the Ministry of Finance and GRA,
they are implementing the Exemptions Act and other tax related legislation.
Good evening.” It is this message from the journalist and this harmless response that
have been presented by The Fourth Estate as my refusal to comment on this story, and my advice to their journalist to rather contact the Ministry of Finance. This is dishonest, to say the least. If the journalist had asked me to speak to 1D1F tax waivers being recommended for a hotel in a Finance Committee’s report, there is no way I would have referred them to the Ministry of Finance.
- Second, The Fourth Estate maintains that the Ministry of Finance’s request to Parliament
was for a waiver under the 1D1F programme. This is also false and disingenuous. The
primary document carrying the Ministry of Finance’s request to Parliament is the Minister’s Memorandum to Parliament, a copy of which I have already supplied to The Fourth Estate. There is no reference to 1D1F in the Minister’s memorandum. Yet, The Fourth Estate prefers to rely on portions of a secondary document (namely, the Finance Committee’s Report on the Minister’s memorandum to Parliament) and insists that the Minister came to Parliament with a request under 1D1F tax incentives. This is in spite of the fact that we the authors of this secondary document have conceded that references to 1D1F in our report were erroneous. The Fourth Estate’s refusal to take notice of the Minister’s memorandum, which has been in public records since July 2022 is deliberate and cunning.
- Third, the Finance Committee’s report was not all about 1D1F. There are portions of the
report that justified the tax waivers within the GIPC Act, 2013. It was regrettable, and we have publicly admitted our embarrassment about the inconsistencies in the Committee’s report. Presenting the tax waivers as 1D1F incentives in some parts of the report and presenting them as tax waivers under the GIPC Act in other parts of the same report should never have happened. And any media house that points out the internal inconsistencies of the report would be helping the Committee improve its work. However, The Fourth Estate’s deliberate and devious suppression of those portions of the Committee’s report that situate the tax waivers in the GIPC Act, obviously to give the impression that the Committee report made no reference to the GIPC Act, is ill-motivated and unacceptable.
- Finally, The Fourth Estate maintains that Parliament granted 1D1F tax waivers for a
hotel project and makes claim to some incontrovertible evidence to that effect. Fact is, a
decision of Parliament on any tax waiver request is expressed or captured in a Resolution
of Parliament in accordance with Article 174(2) of the national constitution. A Committee’s report only makes recommendations to Parliament and does not constitute a decision of Parliament. Even the adoption of a committee’s report by Parliament does not make the contents of the report decision(s) of Parliament. The decision of Parliament is the Resolution it subsequently passes after the report has been adopted. The Resolution passed by Parliament to grant the said tax waivers was passed in public and has been in public records since December 2022. Nowhere in that Resolution is there any reference to 1D1F. It is this Resolution that was transmitted in a letter from Parliament dated 7th December 2022 to the Ministry of Finance for implementation.
So, the claim to some incontrovertible evidence that proves that Parliament has granted
1D1F tax waivers for the construction of a hotel is completely false. And the campaign by
The Fourth Estate to knowingly present this falsehood as truth to the public is unfortunate.
This rejoinder contains factual inaccuracies which The Fourth Estate will point out in a response.
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