FULL VIDEO: The GH₵3 billion lie & the billion-dollar contract

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The Fourth Estate’s investigative report has revealed that Strategic Mobilization Limited (SML) Ghana won a sole-sourced contract for revenue assurance in the downstream petroleum sector despite no experience in revenue assurance. The Fourth Estate also found that the company had no evidence to back its claim that it had saved the nation from potential revenue losses amounting to GHS3 billion.

The Managing Director of SML, Christian Tetteh Sottie, claimed he did not know about the GHS3 billion figure when The Fourth Estate confronted him with evidence. He said the media, including the state-owned Daily Graphic, had taken a presentation SML made to the Ghana Revenue Authority( GRA) board out of context and reported the wrong information. The same information, however, was published on the company’s website.

The investigations also detailed the circumstances surrounding signing an expanded consolidated contract worth nearly USD100 million a year for revenue assurance in the upstream petroleum and gold mining sectors.

The investigations showed that when the GRA signed the agreement with SML Ghana in 2019, Mr Sottie was the Technical Advisor to the Commissioner-General of the GRA.

Mr Sottie left his job as the Technical Advisor to the GRA Commissioner-General the same year to manage SML Ghana in 2020 when the company started implementing its contract with the GRA.

The GRA has been the only customer of SML Ghana since its establishment.

Meanwhile, state agencies tasked 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.

The Minerals Commission, the sole regulator of the mining industry in Ghana, in response to a Right to Information (RTI) request by The Fourth Estate said it did not play any role in the award of the revenue assurance contract between SML and the GRA.

The Petroleum Commission, in response to The Fourth Estate’s enquiries also denied any knowledge of a contract with SML to monitor petroleum revenue in the upstream sector.

The Ministry of Finance, which directed the GRA to sign the contract, has said it does not have any information on revenue losses in the mining, petroleum downstream, and upstream sectors.

Following the publication of the story in December 2023, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, suspended the contract and caused an investigation into the matter. In April 2024, the international audit firm, KPMG, which was contracted for the investigation affirmed The Fourth Estate’s findings and recommended the possible cancellation of the contract.
The GRA has cancelled the transaction audit and the external verification parts of the contract, saving the country US$500 million while negotiating the cost of the contract for the downstream petroleum audit. Meanwhile, the contract for the Upstream petroleum sector worth US$100 million every year has been suspended indefinitely.

Watch the full video below:

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