Dirty Secrets At GRA Begin To Drop!

Even before the dust could settle over calls for the current Commissioner–General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah and his team to bow out to retirement after having outgrown the office, issues regarding the award of certain questionable contracts and payments are beginning to pop up.

It is emerging that, the Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah-led management has allegedly released a staggering GH₵73 million Ghana cedis to a private construction company, Devtraco, as a mobilization fee for construction of a new headquarters for GRA located around Kanda Post Office.

According to sources, the project originally aimed at 14-storey building, had to be reduced to 4-storey due to some security reason as the site is described as too close to the presidency.

The money, this paper is informed was allegedly paid by Bank Guarantee through GCB since April 2020, the same year the contract was awarded.

Top officials at GRA are said to have been tightlipped on the issue. However, some have been captured on tape, confirming that the money has been released to the private contractor.

But many have been raising questions as to why the Authority did not do due diligence and necessary enquiries before releasing the purported mobilization fee to the construction firm?

Issues regarding the parcel of the land the building is being built on is also a subject of controversy as the land is said to have been hijacked from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), even though the GRA has several landed properties dotted at prime areas in the capital.

The Unionised Staff Association of GBC at a press conference warned that it will resist any moves by the management of the GRA to take over its Old House lands located around the Jubilee House.

Meanwhile anti-corruption group, Movement for Truth and Accountability (MFTA) who has taken interest in the development said, they are taking the matter to the Office of The Special Prosecutor to be investigated.

Convener of the group, Joseph Bediako told The Anchor they will not allow the matter to rest until they get to the bottom of the issues.

According to him, the group has on many occasions sent questionnaires to the office of the Commissioner–General, but sadly did not get any response.

He said, other questionnaires sent to Commissioner in-charge of Support Service, Ms. Julie Essiam also yielded no response.

Attempts by this paper to speak to management and get the GRA’s side of the story has been unsuccessful, as calls and text message sent to the Authority’s Communication and Public Affairs officer, Mrs Florence Asante was not answered at the time of going to press.

Similar calls placed to Commissioner responsible for Support Service has also not been answered.

It would be recalled that, The Anchor in its last edition reported about a simmering anger among staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority, especially, at its head office, following the continuous stay in office by the Commissioner–General, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah and two other commissioners, after their term in office had allegedly elapsed.

The others are Col. Kwadwo Damoah (Rtd), a Commissioner in-charge of Customs Division and Ms. Julie Essiam, Commissioner responsible for Support Services Division at the GRA.

The Anchor has gathered that even though the three Commissioners’ respective terms-in-office had expired and there has not been any letter of extension of their appointment by the appointing authorities, they are still at post; allegedly signing letters and documents, with impunity.

They are said to be lobbying desperately, though, to get contract extension of their appointment, instead of honorably bowing out and allowing others to take over the management of affairs.

This development is said to be raising serious eyebrows among the workers, especially, within senior officers and to a large extent, affecting effective work delivery.

The GRA boss himself, sources told this paper, has been maneuvering his ways and lobbying through the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, to have his contract extended.

The three Commissioners, particularly, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, have been accused of using their positions to victimize officers suspected not to be in their good books.

Ms. Essiam on the other hand, according to sources is expected to attain a mandatory retirement age of 60 years in July, and should have proceeded on her terminal leave by now at home and have good times with her grandchildren. However, she is still at post enjoying juicy allowances, whiles pushing for contract extension.

She is an accomplished Banking Executive with a professional passion for sustainable transformation and development work.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Essiam was the Group Executive at the Ecobank Group with branches covering 40 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and other parts of the world.

She is the concept originator and the founder of Africans4Africa (A4A) initiation; a private sector-led development organization that calls for a collaborative effort across the leadership of Africa to contribute to the successful achievement of an impactful transformation of the continent towards a thriving and prosperous Africa.

She was also the immediate-past Board Member of the Global fund and the President of the Private Sector delegation of the Global fund.

She was a member of Ecobank Group Executive Committee, and has been on the boards of Ecobank Zambia, the Ecobank Foundation and three board committees of the Ecobank Group-Finance and Audit, Risk and HR.

In the case of Col Damoah, sources say he has also been using his connections at the presidency to have few more years at post.

Though, The Anchor has learnt he has not been taking his salaries as Commissioner for some few months now, some have said, he has outlived his usefulness at the GRA, therefore, must go!

Col K Damoah (Rtd)was first appointed Acting Commissioner on 30th May, 2019 and subsequently confirmed on 19th May, 2020.

Prior to his appointment as Commissioner, he had been a Board Member of the Ghana Revenue Authority from May 2017. He was appointed a Technical Advisor to the Commissioner-General from October 2017 to June 2019.

He was a lecturer at the Faculty of Law and Business Department of the Zenith University College in Accra, between 2010 and 2018.

More To Come…

Source: anchorghana

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