President Nana Akufo-Addo has rejected the Ghana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) request to continue using the monitoring system of ‘revenue assurance’ company, Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML) while KPMG continues its audit of the contract between the two organisations.
“The President has denied GRA’s request, and has directed that the status quo, with respect to the suspension of the performance of the contract, should remain in effect until the completion of the audit and, subsequent submission of the audit report by KPMG,” a letter from the presidency stated.
The GRA had written to the president to allow the SML system to run while KPMG audits SML’s activities, citing potential revenue leakages if the system was dismantled.
The president has also extended the deadline for the submission of KPMG’s investigative report. The original deadline elapsed on January 16, 2024 but has now been extended to February 23, 2024.
Meanwhile, KPMG is yet to respond to a Right to Information request by The Fourth Estate asking for information on contracts it has signed with the government of Ghana in the last 10 years.
The Fourth Estate released its investigative report into a contract between the GRA and SML in December 2023.
It exposed how an offshoot of a timber company made false claims that its revenue assurance service had saved the country GHS3 billion in less than three years.
The Managing Director of SML, Christian Tetteh Sottie, insisted he did not know about the GHS3 billion figure when The Fourth Estate confronted him with evidence that the company’s claims were untrue . He said the media, including the state-owned Daily Graphic, had taken a presentation SML made to the GRA board out of context and reported the wrong information. The same information, however, was published on the company’s website.
The investigations showed that in 2019 when the GRA contracted SML, Mr Sottie was the Technical Advisor to the Commissioner-General of the GRA.
Mr Sottie left that position in 2020 to manage SML Ghana when the company started implementing the contract with the GRA.
The GRA has been the only customer of SML Ghana since its establishment.
The Fourth Estate investigations also detailed the circumstances surrounding the signing of an expanded consolidated contract worth nearly USD100 million a year for revenue assurance in the upstream petroleum and gold mining sectors.
Meanwhile, state agencies that are mandated to regulate the activities in the petroleum and mining sectors have denied knowledge of the contract which the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, ordered the GRA to sign with SML Ghana.
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