The SML/GRA agreement has many candidates for jail – Manasseh Azure

Investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni has alleged that the contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Limited (SML) is riddled with numerous violations that could lead to legal proceedings.

He believes that those responsible for the irregularities could be imprisoned and that any government could take legal action and recover the funds.

In an appearance on JoyNews’ Newsfile program on Saturday, May 25, Mr Azure emphasized that substantial sums of state money have been inappropriately paid to people who did not deserve it.

He highlighted the importance of recovering these funds and redirecting them towards the development of the nation.

Azure noted that the misuse of public funds in this deal has deprived the country of resources that could have been used for its advancement.

He called for accountability and urged the government to take decisive action against those involved in the contract.

“This is a case that has several candidates for jail, if any government wants to take charge of this, it will be very easy to jail people, and it will be very easy for us to recover hundreds, if not billions of cedis paid to people that they didn’t deserve even a pesewa,” he said.

On Wednesday, May 22, President Akufo-Addo released the KPMG audit report into the controversial contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Limited (SML).

The disclosure came after weeks of mounting pressure from Ghanaians, including civil society organisations, who demanded transparency over numerous contractual breaches.

The audit results 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 at January 31, 2024. All of these contracts lacked approval from both the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and Parliament.

Furthermore, the report revealed that the GRA had six service contracts with SML, contradicting the presidency’s initial claim of only three contracts.

This discrepancy is in stark contrast to information previously stated in a press release from Presidential Communications Director Eugene Arhin on April 24.

The 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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