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NewsSML-GRA deal which is to loot and share was approved by Ofori-Atta...

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SML-GRA deal which is to loot and share was approved by Ofori-Atta – Sam George

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Ningo-Prampram Member of Parliament, Sam George, has added his voice to the criticism surrounding the controversial contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML).

He described the deal as a classic example of what former Supreme Court Justice, Jones Dotse, famously termed “create, loot, and share.” Mr. George believes the agreement was designed to siphon funds from the state coffers, portraying it as a mechanism for facilitating embezzlement.

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Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile programme on Saturday, May 25, the outspoken politician emphasized the importance of not overlooking the involvement of former Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, in the controversial arrangement.

Mr. George believes Ofori-Atta played a significant role in the deal and should not be allowed to evade responsibility.

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“The SML or SMEL deal is a clear example of what Justice Dotse described as a create, loot and share. One thing Ghanaians must bear in mind is that all of these happened with the tacit approval of the then Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.”

“As usual, he is trying to run under the radar and people are failing to realise, the key cardinal role he played in this entire arrangement,” he stated.

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Mr. George also characterized the GRA as a “crime scene”.

“The Ghana Revenue Authority in my humble opinion is a crime scene and is the biggest single purveyor of corruption in our public service. I suggest the dissolution and reconstitution of the whole GRA. The GRA is supposed to be the watchdog in ensuring that nobody evades taxes and in this SML deal, the GRA itself failed to retrieve tax,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo released the KPMG audit report on the contentious contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML) on Wednesday, May 22. This followed weeks of pressure from Ghanaians, including civil society organizations, demanding transparency regarding the numerous infractions in the contract.

The audit findings revealed that SML owes the GRA GH¢31.88 million in unpaid taxes for eight months of service provision. This debt includes accrued interest, estimated at GH¢18.50 million as of January 31, 2024. It was also discovered that all these contracts lacked approval from both the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and Parliament.

Furthermore, the report disclosed that the GRA had six service contracts with SML, contradicting the presidency’s initial claim of only three contracts. This discrepancy sharply contrasts with information previously stated in a press release by the Communications Director of the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, on April 24.

These revelations have sparked significant public outrage, with many Ghanaians calling for the immediate cancellation of the deal and the prosecution of those responsible.

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