Business & Finance

GRA Requests Resumption Of SML Operation Amid Probe

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to permit the resumption of the “revenue assurance” system of Strategic Mobilization Ltd (SML).

The letter dated January 16 conveyed the concern of the SML about the suspension of the contract and confirmed the suspension would lead to revenue losses.

The Director-General of the GRA, Dr Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, therefore requested a withdrawal of the suspension.

“We can confirm that the suspension to all intents and purposes will lead to revenue losses following the suspension. There has been a huge gap in the control system and also the update of the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) accounts.”

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“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. The system will continue to record data in real-time until your further directive after the conclusion of the investigation.”

GRA has awarded three contracts to SML since 2019 to detect invoice fraud, fight under-declaration of fuel volumes and, by extension, taxes collected by the fuel marketers from consumers on behalf of the government and then an expansion to minerals exported by Ghana.

The contacts are reported to have been awarded through sole sourcing.

According to the Media Foundation For West Africa (MFWA), investigations revealed SML is not tackling any of the problems and malfeasance that were identified in causing leakages in the sector.

It also established that SML by the contract will be paid US$100 million by the government of Ghana for the “revenue assurance” it provides.

The GRA in a statement in December 2023, denied SML was being paid for no work done.

“The work of SML over the period has led to a significant increase in the figures reported in the downstream petroleum sector, from an average of 350 million litres per month in 2018 and 2019, to 450 million litres per month from 2020/2021.”

“This represents over a thirty- three per cent (33%) increase in volume reporting and an average of an extra 100 million litres per month at a levy rate of GHS1.44p. The extra revenue variance gained for the two (2) years will exceed GHS3 billion. This performance is attributable mainly to the introduction of ICUMS and SML systems,” it defended.

On January 2, the Presidency announced it had contracted international audit firm KPMG to audit transactions between the GRA and the SML while ordered the performance of the contract to be put on hold.

In a statement on January 4, SML welcomed the move noting, “It will help establish a clear and accurate picture of our operations.”

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