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General News of Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Source: adomonline.com

GRA reacts to rent scandal; says it’s value for money

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has reacted to the conflict of interest allegations levelled against its acting Board Chairperson, Mrs Adelaide Ahwireng.

Madam Ahwireng has come in or public bashing for allegedly renting out her personal property at Agbobloshie in Accra to the GRA at an annual charge of GH? 1.4 million, an amount described as highly exorbitant given its location.

According to a Daily Guide report, the three-storey duplex commercial building comprising open spaces, wet ancillary areas was rented out for GH? 49,035.16 per month or GH? 588,421.92 per annum to be used as Small Taxpayer Officer (STO) of the GRA.

The act of giving out her personal commercial property to an entity for which she serves as Board Chair has been described as a conflict of interest situation.

However, in a rebuttal by the Head of Estate at the GRA, Esi Coleman on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme Tuesday, he noted that the decision to rent the property was based a “value-for-money” considerations.

She explained that since the GRA moved to the office, revenue collection has increased astronomically due to its proximity to traders.

Madam Coleman noted that they looked out for strategic location and facilities available to improve revenue collections and the Board Chair’s properties have so far paid off.

She also added that the valuation of the property prior to payment was approved by the Board of GRA.

Madam Coleman maintained that in comparative terms, the rent paid for the property was cheaper than others they considered.

She added that renting of the building was an interim measure because the Authority had it as part of its plans to build offices in 2020.