General News of Friday, 30 May 2014
The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) has called on Ghanaians to reject the Ministerial Committee’s report on the Ghana Revenue Authority - Subah Infosolutions deal.
According to the party, the report is tainted with corruption. Therefore it has asked that another committee be reconstituted to thoroughly investigate the deal.
For instance, it said, the executive summary of the report captured three employees of Subah Infosolutions as members of the committee whereas no representative of the mobile network operators, the offending party, was on the committee.
“It was only after several days that correspondences from the Ministry of Finance suggested that the reports be discarded since the three Subah representatives were not members of the committee but were only invited to sit in for renegotiation of the contract,” the party said.
At a press conference in Accra, Mr Frederick Anyan, a communication team member of the PPP, said: “We believe that the report has come to wash down the rot in this contract between the government and Subah and to exonerate Subah”.
The Ministerial Committee was set up to review and renegotiate the contract and also considers the legal implications of setting aside the contract.
Mr Anyan said the Revenue Agencies Governing Board contracted Subah Infosolutions in 2010 to ascertain the number of calls and duration as well as the application of tariffs in relation to domestic calls.
The contract, he said, was to enable the GRA to charge the correct taxes on call traffic volume to be paid by the mobile network operators to the GRA.
He said Subah was specifically contracted to examine and ascertain the total volume of call traffic declared by the mobile network operators as a basis for calculating the amount of Communication Service Tax to be paid by the operators to the government.
“Subah was also to verify the accuracy in the application of tariffs to individual calls.
To be able to fully execute the contract terms, he said Subah needed to attach monitoring equipment to the physical network nodes of the mobile network operators.
“However, it was in October 2013 that the Communication Service Tax (CST) Act, 2008 (Act 754) was amended to Communication Service Tax Act 2013 (Act 864) to give the deal a legal mandate for electronic monitoring of the operations of the operators by the government or its agent”, he said.
He said the CST Act 2008 (Act 754), in whose spirit the contract was conceived, made no provision for the operators to allow access to electronic monitoring of their operations by the government or its agent.
“Why did the government sign a contract when there was no legal mandate upon which the contracted party could execute the contract terms and yet waited for 40 clear months before amending the CST Act 2008 (Act 754)?” Mr Anyan asked.
Subah never approached telcos
He cited a letter authored and signed by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Chamber of Telecommunications, Mr Kwaku Sakyi Addo, which claimed that Subah was never introduced to the chamber until October 28, 2013, by a letter from the GRA.
He said that though Subah had been contracted since June 2010, the firm had never approached any member of telcos to install monitoring equipment until November 2013”.
“If the government believed that the contract signed in 2010 passed value for money test and was not scandalous, why did it not introduce Subah to the mobile network operators until November 2013?
Paid for no work done
Based on these, he asked why the government advanced payment of GH¢74.3 million to Subah when it had not installed any electronic monitoring equipment to be able to monitor the call traffic volume and also verify the accuracy of the application of tariffs as stated in the contract.