The Fourth Estate has filed a Right to Information (RTI) request for copies of all contracts between auditing firm, KPMG and the government of Ghana in the last 10 years.
Last week, President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the appointment of KPMG to audit a contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Company Limited. The contract has been described as unnecessary and a mere duplication of the work of several government agencies, whose only objective appears to be lining the pockets of private business people.
The RTI request to KPMG by The Fourth Estate follows concerns raised by some civil society organisations (CSOs) that there could be a possible conflict of interest situation involving KPMG because the audit firm already has existing contracts with the GRA.
According to the CSOs, including IMANI Africa, the Africa Centre for Energy Policy and Occupy Ghana, KPMG is also the only advisor to the government on its pandemic relief package for small businesses and the recruitment of technical and other staff to boost delivery capacity to the GRA.
They further point out that KPMG is a manager of the ESLA tax vehicle on behalf of the government of Ghana and the firm is also a technical advisor to the GRA in some of the very areas (audit, accounting, assurance/compliance and consulting) that it is being asked to investigate.
The appointment of KPMG to review the contract between SML and GRA was in response to The Fourth Estate‘s investigation which revealed that the contract between GRA and SML, an offshoot of a timber company, will earn SML about GHS24 million per month, for work which appears to be already in the mandate of several state agencies in the downstream petroleum sector.
The investigation also revealed that SML has been awarded an expanded consolidated contract worth nearly US$100 million a year for revenue assurance in the upstream petroleum and gold mining sectors.
In addition to the concerns raised by the CSOs over KPMG’s appointment, a former Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, has said that the Office of the Special Prosecutor should rather have been mandated to investigate the SML/GRA contract.
“I think that as much as we are worried about corruption, we must also be worried about the waste of public resources. We have institutions given this mandate to protect the public purse. We should use them instead of engaging KPMG,” Mr Domelevo said in an interview on Joy FM.
The Fourth Estate’s RTI request for contracts between KPMG and the government of Ghana was filed on Friday, January 5, 2024, seeking the following:
- The list of all services KPMG has rendered to the Ghana Revenue Authority and their corresponding fees from 2013 to 2023.
- Copies of the contracts signed in (1) above.
- The list of all services KPMG has rendered to the Ministry of Finance and their corresponding fees from 2013 to 2023.
- Copies of the contracts in (3) above.
- The list of all services KPMG has rendered to other government agencies and their corresponding fees between 2013 and 2024.
Meanwhile, SML has said it is confident that the appointment of KPMG to audit its activities will confirm its integrity and the value of the service it renders to the GRA.
SML also said the audit will help clear all doubts surrounding its operations.
“We remain resolute in upholding the highest business standards and welcome the scrutiny that this audit would bring. We are confident that the findings will confirm the integrity of the collaboration with GRA and the Ministry of Finance and provide ample evidence of the value we provide citizens,” SML said in a press statement.