HomeBusinessBusinessTerminate GRA/SML deal – Manasseh Azure

Terminate GRA/SML deal – Manasseh Azure

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Investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has called for a complete dissolution of the contentious revenue mobilisation deal between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd (SML).

Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Thursday, May 23, the journalist, whose work in collaboration with the Fourth Estate, a project of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) shed light on the transaction, said he is not “impressed about the fact that they [Government] are still trying to keep aspects of this contract.”

He noted that, there is no evidence that SML held oil marketing companies affiliated with political actors accountable.

According to him, the said OMCs engage in diversion, dilution, and under-reporting thus, robbing the government and the country of huge sums of money.

“…the fact that politically affiliating OMCs sell the products, take the taxes, and don’t go back to pay to the government, these are the avenues through which the state loses revenue,” he said.

It is on the back of this that Mr Awuni believes that the SML is not performing its required duties, hence the best decision was to terminate the contract.

“And from this report, I have yet to see anywhere that SML came in and is tackling this problem. So the best move is to clear out this deal,” he said.

SML Controversy

In April this year, an investigation by The Fourth Estate, uncovered numerous irregularities in the contracts between Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML), the Ministry of Finance, and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The investigation revealed discrepancies in SML’s claims regarding its services aimed at tackling revenue losses in the downstream petroleum sector.

President Akufo-Addo subsequently instructed KPMG to conduct a comprehensive audit.

Despite SML’s assertions that its services were effectively addressing under-declaration, dilution, and diversion of petroleum products, evidence presented by The Fourth Estate showed that these functions were being carried out by other companies and the National Petroleum Authority (NPA).

Managing Director of SML, Christian Tetteh Sottie admitted to the inaccuracies and promptly removed the false claims from the company’s website.

Despite these revelations and other admitted falsehoods, Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta initiated a process in 2023 to expand SML’s contracts to include the gold and oil-producing sectors. This decision significantly increased the annual contract sum to over $100 million.

Following the investigation by The Fourth Estate and subsequent public outcry, President Akufo-Addo suspended the contracts and commissioned KPMG to conduct an audit and submit a report.

While the president released a press statement regarding the findings, the full report provides even more damning revelations about SML’s operations within its contracts with the Ministry of Finance and the GRA.

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