NDC Urges Abrogation Of SML-GRA Contracts

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), has called for the immediate termination of all three contracts between the Strategic Mobilization Ghana Limited (SML) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), to protect the public purse.

It also, urged the retrieval of all payments made by the government to the company with immediate effect.

The contracts comprise the Transaction Audit Service Agreement, the External Price Verification Agreement, and the Downstream Petroleum Audit Service Agreement.

The NDC, made the call at a news conference dubbed “Moment of Truth,” in Accra, on Monday, addressed by Mr Sammy Gyamfi, the National Communications Officer of the Party.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, April 24, 2024, released a statement on the KMPG audit report on the SML-GRA deal, in which statement the President called for the termination of two of the contracts – the Transaction Audit Service Agreement and the External Price Verification Agreement.

However, the President directed that, the contract between the SML-GRA on the downstream petroleum audit service, be reviewed.

Speaking at the press conference, Mr Gyamfi, said all the three contracts must immediately be abrogated, alleging that the contracts were awarded without due process and therefore made them “illegal.”

For instance, on the downstream petroleum audit service contract, Mr Gyamfi, noted that the contract bridged numerous state laws, including the Public Procurement law, the GRA Act and the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).

“This is because the agreements did not go through the mandatorily required procurement process. Neither were they approved by the board of the GRA, as required by the GRA Act,” he said.

Additionally, he said that the agreements were not “approved by Parliament as required by section 33 of the PFMA,” saying “the agreements are therefore illegal, null, void and of no legal effect whatsoever.”

The National Communications Officer of the NDC, again, stated that the contract was needless as both the Fourth Estate and KMPG, had indicated that there was no need or value for money assessments made prior to the awarding of the contracts.

He described the transactions as “duplicitous, needless, and inimical to the interest” of the nation.

“The published sections of the KPMG report clearly indicate that SML partially delivered on its illegally contracted transaction audit and price verification services. And that, the state did not derive the full benefits of payments it made to SML,” he added.

He rejected claims by SML that its services, had curtailed malfeasance in the downstream petroleum sector and saved the country GH₵3 billion in revenue, indicating that till now, the company had failed to provide any evidence to show how many under-declaration, under-reporting, dilution or diversions it detected during its operational time.

“The claim by the government that the State has benefited from the illegal downstream petroleum audit services of SML simply because of an increase in petroleum volumes by 1.7 billion litres and an increase in tax revenue to the State to the tune of GH₵2.45 billion, is ridiculous to say the least.”

He explained that the increased petroleum volumes and tax revenue recorded by the country in the downstream petroleum sector, were attributable to the general increase in the consumption and prices of petroleum products and not to the actions of SML.

“There is no concrete evidence that shows that the recorded volume and tax revenue increases in the downstream petroleum sector, are wholly or partly correlated to the work of SML,” he added.

Mr Gyamfi, therefore, questioned the government’s decision to allow SML to continue with its operations in the downstream petroleum sector, alleging that it was an attempt by the government to cover up the “illegal” deal.

While, calling for the immediate publication of the full report by the KPMG and prosecution of all persons involved in the awarding of the deal, Mr Gyamfi, said the next NDC government, would not recognize the contract between the government and SML.

“When elected, we shall launch credible and transparent investigations into this stinking SML scandal, to retrieve for the State, all illegal payments made to SML and ensure the prosecution of all persons who are complicit in these illegal transactions,” he added.


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