General News of Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Source: The Herald

IRS Boss to pounce on Ken Agyepong

*After Buying ¢8 billion Car From ¢6 million salary*

Officials of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are on the heels of the NPP Member of Parliament for Assin-North, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, who recently spent close to a whopping ¢8 billion to purchase a specially manufactured Rolls-Royce phantom saloon car, for refusing to declare his other sources income to the tax agency.

Impeccable sources at the IRS headquarters in Accra revealed to The Herald Newspaper that long before the MP bought the car, there were concerns about Mr. Agyapong’s income and tax liabilities, and though his attention was drawn to it, the lawmaker refused to respond to the issues.

Meanwhile independent checks in Parliament revealed his basic salary as an MP to be a little over ¢6 million. Other monthly allowances received by him as an MP puts his consolidated salary at ¢23 million a month. This means he could not have saved enough money since becoming an MP to afford an ¢8 billion car; a position IRS officials agrees with.

Mr. Kennedy Agyapong has being trumpeting his quest to build a media empire in Ghana, and so far he owns KenCity Media Limited under which he manages Net2 TV, Oman FM, Spice FM, Ash FM, National Agenda newspaper (suffered a stillbirth), the Nation newspaper and Gold Coin communications.

However, tax officials told The Herald that Mr. Agyapong while filing his tax returns at the Kimbu District IRS office falsely declared his salary as an MP, his only source of income. He was therefore, written to three months ago to rectify the abnormality by making known his other sources of income, but the MP who publicly declared on many occasions he has lots of businesses aside the media, has since snubbed them.

The Kimbu District office is the custodian of the tax records of all public servants including that of the Vice-President, Speaker of Parliament, Chief Justice, MPs among others.

When the IRS Commissioner was reached, he said he was not aware his officers were chasing Mr. Agyapong with respect to his tax obligations. He promised to launch a personal investigation into the matter and respond to questions later this week. He, insisted, however, that the MP could be penalized if it is found out that he has not being truthful to the IRS.

The IRS boss, Major Daniel Ablor Quarcoo, later sent a text message saying; “Yes Mr. Dogbe I hope you’d allow me to do my own investigations and respond appropriately to your request. Thanks.”

Strangely, the IRS workers are skeptical about their boss’ promise, saying he is only interested in vigorously chasing “Kayayos” (head porters) and street hawkers for stamp tax. They revealed that various proposals to set up a specialized unit in IRS to probe individuals, especially public servants living above their means of income was shot down by the IRS head himself.

This paper last Friday, reported that media owner, Kennedy Agyapong drove off his nearly ¢8 billion diamond black/silver Rolls-Royce Phantom Saloon car manufactured by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in London, United Kingdom from the Tema Port a little over two weeks ago, leaving port officials wondering how, where and when the NPP MP got his money.

Detailed documents obtained by The Herald newspaper on the luxurious car revealed that Mr. Agyapong paid the manufacturers a whopping 249, 708. 00 pounds sterling, the equivalent of five billion, four hundred and ninety three Million, five hundred and seventy thousand old cedi in April this year for the vehicle.

The opposition MP paid two billion, one hundred and fifty four million, ninety seven thousand old cedis last month as custom duty before the lavish vehicle was cleared from the Tema Harbor by Fame Shipping Agency Limited.

The value of the car and the amount spent on custom duty means that the Ghanaian MP paid a total of Seven Billion, Six Hundred and Four Million, Five Hundred and Forty Thousand old cedis on the acquisition of the luxurious vehicle, probably the first of its kind in the country, which will soon be passing through a street near you.

It is the price of the car, purposely made this year, 2010, under Mr. Agyapong’s strict instructions and the amount spent to clear it from the port, which has got some customs officials and other security agencies interested in the source of his money.

“Oh my brother where is this man getting his money from? Could it be stolen cash? Drug money or he is engaged in money laundering or what? I don’t understand,” one CEPS officer asked rhetorically.

He (CEPS official) went on, “in any serious country IRS (Internal Revenue Service) would have been on his heels by now tracing the source of his money but this is Ghana.”

The car has been purchased in the wake of media reports that Mr. Agyepong‘s media empire is crumbling as a result of his inability to pay his workers a living wage, necessitating a mass exodus of the workers to other media houses.

The custom-made diamond black/silver car has SCA681S05AUX01690 as its chassis number. Special features on the car include a short circuit TV which tells the driver what the distance ahead is, a DVD Changer, soft leather upholsteryamong other features.

But for the vigilance of some CEPS officials Mr. Agyapong would have paid far less for his luxurious car. The MP had told port officials that the car was an ordinary vehicle and was going to pay just GH¢35, 995.75, (350 million old cedis). However, port officials discovered the special features on the car and got him to pay GH¢179, 501.25 in addition to the ¢35, 995.75 he paid earlier as custom duty.

Those who have seen the car told The Herald it has an inscription: “Kennedy Agyepong@50” written on it making them suspect he bought it as his 50thbirthday present.