The IT Systems Engineer of SML Ghana, Prince Sarpong, has contradicted himself and his managing director’s statement that the GH₵3 billion the company claimed to have saved was false.
The company had claimed that but for its operations, Ghana would have lost GH₵3 billion. When The Fourth Estate confronted the management of the company and challenged them to prove it, they said they didn’t put out the figure as savings to the state and that the media misreported them.
The Managing Director, Christian Tetteh Sottie, had the following interaction with Manasseh Azure Awuni of The Fourth Estate:
MANASSEH: What I want is the agreement from here that the figures are not accurate and that we cannot say that your intervention saved GH₵3 billion.
MR SOTTIE: I have told you that [in terms of the] GH₵3 billion, I am not aware [of it] because when we were told about the publication, we even called the journalist … I think he [journalist] picked it out of context. I can’t remember the GHS 3 billion. I remember the GH₵ 1 billion.
MANASSEH: But the GH₵3 billion was from your outfit?
MR SOTTIE: Yes, you remember when you were talking, I was still speaking about GH₵1 billion. Because, after one year, that was the statement I put out.
MANASSEH: So, who put the GH₵3 billion out?
The IT Systems Engineer of SML Ghana, Prince Sarpong, interrupted at this point and explained that it was the media that got it wrong.
MR SARPONG: It was a mistake because if you look at other publications, it was just a consultation between GRA and SML. I did the presentation, and I was giving them the expected revenue. Our system can generate expected revenue, so what we did was not even the accurate figure because only GRA can give accurate figures. So, that is a caption by journalists.
In that report, we never said we are giving accurate revenue estimates. The whole report, if you look at it, was a collaboration between GRA and SML. So in that presentation, journalists were here. I did the presentation and in that presentation, I was giving them expected revenue and the last presentation per our audit system can generate expected revenue so what we did was not even the accurate figure.
We never talked about accurate figures because we are not GRA. It is only GRA that can give you accurate figures. When we are talking about this, it depends on how it was reported. So no one actually said that we generated accurately. So, that is a caption by journalists.
MANASSEH: The problem here is that if the journalist made a mistake, it is also on your website this morning even as we speak [in July 2023]. This has been there since February . So, if a journalist makes a mistake and reports something I did not say, and I put that same thing on my website, then it means an endorsement.
MR SOTTIE: As for me, I don’t know about any website matters.
Despite the availability of video evidence, Mr Sarpong, on Tuesday stated that the company had saved Ghana GH₵3 billion from its operations. He said this when SML invited some journalists to tour the company after The Fourth Estate‘s publication of the documentary on the company’s operations.
He said: What actually happened with the GH₵3 billion is, as I talked about, the money is all about the volume. So if there’s an increase in volume, there is an increase in revenue and since SML started operations, we can confidently say that there has been an average pointly [sic] increase of 100 million litres. So if you multiply it by 24 months, with the tax component that–we are not even using the 1.74 but the old tax component which is 1.44– that will arrive at the GH₵3 billion that we talked about.
With this, he contradicted not only his managing director but also his earlier assertion that the claim of saving GH₵3 billion had been made by false media reports.
In a press statement after the media encounter, SML Ghana denied any wrongdoing and accused The Fourth Estate of inaccuracy.
Watch the full documentary here:
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