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General News of Monday, 24 April 2017


Victims of EOCO, political harassment revealed

The list of personalities, who have become victims of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) political harassment through the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) is growing by the day, with the latest being the former Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), George Blankson.

Mr. Blankson, has been asked to appear before EOCO today to assist in an investigation into a subject yet to be known, but widely believed to be in connection with the matter of Ibrahim Mahama, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Engineers and Planners (E&P), a construction company.

Ibrahim Mahama, is owed at least over GH¢24 million by the Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways for work done on roads in Salaga, northern Ghana, yet has been ordered to pay about GH¢12 million to GRA by EOCO; a state apparatus, although arrangement between E&P and GRA, is well documented with a schedule payment dates.

Mr. Mahama, met EOCO last Friday for the third time in the week, following an invitation.

The former GRA boss, adds to the list of prominent appointees and associates of the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama administration, who have been at the mercy of the 70-year old retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, K K Amoah, who heads EOCO, raising some legal issues with respect to his age.

On the list of prominent appointees and associates of the Mahama administration, who have appeared before the EOCO are; Dr. Stephen Opuni, former CEO of Ghana Cocoa Board, Ali Seidu; businessman and Managing Director of Maripoma Construction Enterprise, Alhaji Seidu Agongo; businessman and Chief Executive Officer of Zeera Group of Companies and businessman Ibrahim Mahama, who is a younger brother of former President Mahama.

The Herald is informed that, a tall list of contractors who secured and executed one or two projects during the Mahama administration, have made appearances at the offices of EOCO to answer questions on how they secured the jobs. One of these contractors is, Kofi Job.

There appears to be a desperate effort to dig up issues to prosecute and jail appointees and associates of the Mahama administration.

There is also a standby media men, NPP social media hirelings, and party communicators, arranged to embarrass these high profile individuals connected to the previous administration.

The Herald, is further informed that apart from EOCO, some appointees of the previous regime as well as ordinary civil servant who served in various positions, have also made appearances at the Police Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headquarters on several occasions.

In the case of Ibrahim Mahama’s appearance at the EOCO, the businessman, maintains that he only owes GH¢2 million.

Mr. Mahama, was contracted under the John Mahama government to execute various projects, including the clearing of a field to house the AMERI power plant.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo Prampram, Sam George, who is a close associate of Mr. Mahama, has explained that the amount was for duties on equipment brought in to the country to execute the road project.

Mr. George explained that “There is an arrangement with GRA. He [Ibrahim Mahama] brought in equipment for government work and after the import duty, an arrangement was made that the duties will be deducted from payment made for the job for which they were brought in for.”

“Government is owing more than twice what it is asking him to pay as complete sums, including interests,” he added.

“The government is owing the business man for work he has used the very equipment that has attracted the very liability he has to government. How do you expect him to pay if you are owing him? So government should do the honorable thing and pay him and the actually deduct whatever they think is due them from the source.”

Mr. George noted that the arrangement was that, when Mr. Mahama gets paid, the deductions will be made “because there was a time table that was agreed between him and the GRA for retiring this liability.”

EOCO on a fishing expedition despite suggestions that EOCO may have been intensely interrogating Mr. Mahama, Mr. George described the meetings with EOCO as “largely cordial.”

But EOCO may not totally be on top of issues as, in his view, “you can clearly tell that EOCO is on a fishing expedition. They are trying to find out a lot that they don’t know about.”

“That is strange because as an investigative body, you would have expected that they have their facts and on the basis of their findings they will then be asking questions, but that is not what we are seeing. Very amorphous questions are being asked. The invitation was to answer questions with regard to issues of the GRA but today [Friday], he had questions about merchant bank and all kinds of so you really don’t know what EOCO is about,” Mr. George stated.

Last Saturday, a former MP for North Dayi, jumped to the defence of Ibrahim, who is being investigated for issuing dud cheques to the GRA.

George Loh, said there was nothing criminal about arranging with tax officials a time table on how to pay the tax owed for a business transacted.

“Ibrahim Mahama is not the only person with tax arrangement with the Authorities,” Loh stated on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile, Saturday.

Discussing the matter on Newsfile, George Loh, said rather than accusing Ibrahim Mahama of doing something illegal, the tax authorities must be held responsible.

He said, if the tax authorities are comfortable with the arrangement reached with the business man and the interest, he will pay on account of his delay, that should end the matter.

Lawyer Loh, accused EOCO of unnecessarily intimidating the CEO of E&P.

He did not understand why Kennedy Agyepong, NPP MP for Assin Central, will be mounting a crusade for the arrest and prosecution of Ibrahim Mahama, chiding the NPP MP as being ignorant in how the tax cases are dealt with at the GRA.