The overzealousness on the part of some state institutions to please legislator, Kennedy Agyapong, has yet again brought another embarrassment for the four month old Akufo-Addo administration as his attitude continuously gives the impression that, Ghana is currently being run by a vindictive government only interested in witch-hunting perceived political opponents.
Last Monday, came yet another embarrassing moment for the government, as the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Assin Central in the Central Region, led the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) into ditch with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), suggesting EOCO was usurping its role as the state revenue collector and an agreement reached with businessman, Ibrahim Mahama.
According to the GRA’s Assistant Commissioner for Communications, Robert Mensah, the state tax collector, had not mandated EOCO to investigate issues about some dishonoured cheques allegedly issued by Ibrahim Mahama with the aim of retrieving the monies for the GRA.
The claim that, Ibrahim Mahama, had issued dud cheques to the GRA in an attempt to evade tax, was made public by Kennedy Agyapong with a threat to commit suicide if, Mr. Mahama was not investigated, arrested, prosecuted and jailed by the Akufo-Addo government.
His threats, triggered the anti-graft agency’s probe into the matter without authorization from GRA.
This comes weeks after Kennedy Agyapong, had embarrassingly rubbished the Akufo-Addo security establishment, publicly insulting National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah, calling him useless and inept in security matters.
This was after the Minister, had vowed to disband vigilante groups in the country in the wake of NPP’s Delta Forces dastardly act of bundling and throwing out the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, George Agyei, after invading the Council, chanting they will not work with President Akufo-Addo’s appointee.
Heavily emboldened by praises from Kennedy Agyapong who also recommended on TV their recruitment into the National Security outfit for their boldness in throwing out the Ashanti Regional Security Coordinator, other members of the gang, numbering over a hundred in a record-breaking height of impunity, besieged a Kumasi Circuit Court and set free their colleagues, who were facing prosecution for acts of vandalism and injury.
Chanting war songs and threatening mayhem, they broke into the court cells and freed their members holding the nation spellbound and the Akufo-Addo government heavily embarrassment.
It is certain from the intervention by the GRA that, EOCO probe inspired by Kennedy Agyapong, has embarrassingly collapsed, including EOCO’s directive to Ibrahim Mahama to settle an amount of GHC12 million owed the state by May 8, 2017.
The amount represents duty on some heavy duty equipment two of his companies, – Holman Builders and MBG LTD. – cleared at the Tema Port in 2015.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show hosted by Kojo Yankson, the Deputy Commissioner of GRA, disclosed that the state agency was unaware of the invitation extended to Ibrahim Mahama in connection with the debt the latter owes the agency.
Robert Mensah, told the host that, GRA, has its stipulated methods it uses to retrieve such monies and the approach adopted by EOCO, could not be one of the recommended and approved methods, especially when the agency in its earlier engagements with Mr. Ibrahim, agreed with its client on how the debt would be paid.
He said, Mr. Mahama, has been granted one year space to settle the debt and has started settling the debt as agreed by the two parties.
He said, there has been few hitches, but the agency is in discussions with the two companies in questions all owned by Ibrahim to have these hitches resolved amicably.
When the host asked him to quote the amount owed the agency, the commissioner said, he cannot quote the exact amount on the show and asked the host to give him few days to do the right calculations to avoid misrepresentation of facts.
He said, the Authority has used its internal process right from the first day when the companies defaulted on payment. But the GRA official, said the Authority was unaware of the issue EOCO is investigating.
He revealed that some payments have been made.
Ibrahim insists that, government owes him some money for jobs he is doing for the state, but payment is yet to be made to him.
Meanwhile, Ningo-Prampram MP, Sam George, insists accounts on which the businessman issued cheques to the GRA, were not closed as claimed by the Authority.
According to him, the said accounts may have been dormant, but not closed.
The MP, has been speaking for the brother of former president John Mahama, since news about the businessman’s indebtedness to the GRA surfaced.
The GRA, said the banks returned the cheques with a note indicating that the accounts had been closed.
But Mr George, said there may have been some hitches in the process and disagreed that the businessman issued the cheques knowing full well that the accounts were closed.
”As far as I am aware, MBG and Holman Builders did not issue any cheques on any closed accounts…it is one thing for an account to be dormant, and it is another for it to be closed.
“In further engagements with the GRA, we should get further and better particulars on whether the accounts were dormant or closed, because Engineers and Planners, has not issued cheques for closed accounts, that I can state on authority,” he added.
He explained that like any personal account, once an account has not been serviced consistently for a period, it will need to be reactivated before transactions are effective.
“You may have funds in that account and issue a cheque, but because you’ve not been active on that account for six months or beyond, you send a cheque and it will not be honoured because that account has been closed.
“At times, you even go in to make deposits, and even though it is your own account, you will have to go and reactivate the account so if a third party came in to carry out a transaction on that account…you have to go through the processes of reactivating the account.”
Sam George, says the GRA must engage with Mr. Mahama’s bankers to clarify the true state of the accounts, insisting that the businessman, will not issue cheques on accounts that have been closed.
He said, although there are some hitches, the two companies are committed to ensuring that their relationship between the companies and GRA was not marred.
Mr. George is not pleased with their involvement in the issue and the subsequent accusations of fraud.
He said “that is a matter that I do not believe is in the ambit of EOCO.
EOCO is not vested with the powers to determine that. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that is vested with the powers to determine if any individual or corporate entity has acted in a manner that you can term a fraudulent.”
“What they are trying to suggest by that allegation is an intention to defraud and as far as I am aware that is a charge that does not hold,” he added.
But even with that, Mr George, doubted that any court would find the businessman guilty of any criminal intent since his aim was to pay his debts once government paid him for the work he did.