June 14, 2024
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SML contract: GRA’s letter to Akufo-Addo troubling – Ben Boakye

Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Ben Boakye has described the Ghana Revenue Authority’s letter to the President as very troubling.

The GRA, in a letter to Akufo-Addo, appealed to the President to allow for the running of the Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Limited (SML-Ghana) system that has been installed to enhance revenue assurance for control purposes.

This was after the President had directed the suspension of the GRA/ SML contract on January 2, and the appointment of an international audit and accounting firm, KPMG, to audit the contract and submit a report in two weeks. 

According to the Commissioner General of the GRA, Rev. Dr. Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah, suspending the operation of the SML system installed would have ramifications and disruptions on operations.

 “Having carefully reviewed the concern and based on our own understanding of the contracts and the deliverable, we are of the opinion that the system that has been installed to enhance revenue assurance, for control purposes, and also to aid with the ongoing investigation could with your kindest permission be allowed to run,” portions of GRA’s letter said.

However, reacting to the statement on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Ben Boakye stated that GRA had failed to support their request with ample evidence to prove the alleged consequences of suspending the operation of SML.

 “When the suspension happened, SML welcomed the suspension and communicated that they were going to wait for the investigation to be over. The investigation was to be conducted within the space of two weeks.

“The Commissioner General waited for almost that time to elapse and then writes to the President to essentially tell the President that ‘Mr. President, you are the appointing authority, we would only comply even though you’re wrong, we’ll comply as you wish but allow us to continue to run the system’, essentially telling the President that he had a wrong judgement on suspending the arrangement until investigations were over and I find that really, really troubling,” he said.

He added that the failure of the GRA to appropriately counter the controversy surrounding the SML contract with facts and figures is rather disappointing and contributes further to the opacity that has characterized government dealings.

“And also to the fact that when the commissioner general writes essentially five paragraphs to tell the president that he should allow the contract to persist, he doesn’t provide any data and justification to tell the president why the president is wrong and he is right. And it feeds into that broad context of lack of accountability for how things happen in this country.

“We have copiously provided data to show that this contract could not have been informed by credible data and capacity and understanding of how the industry works.

“So if the Commissioner General still insists that it is in the interest of Ghana for this contract to persist, what he needs to do is to challenge the data that has been put out, turning the conversation that the public is actually driving and let him know that he and the finance minister along. And it couldn’t have been a genuine intention to save Ghana money and he’s still dancing around the issue.”

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