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Akufo-Addo suspends SML/GRA deal, appoints KPMG to audit transaction

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has ordered the immediate suspension of the revenue assurance contract signed between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Ghana Ltd (SML).

He has also appointed the Audit, Tax, and Advisory Services firm, KPMG, to conduct an immediate audit of the transaction.

In a statement dated January 2, signed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, the President said, “The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has appointed KPMG, the reputable Audit, Tax and Advisory Services firm, to conduct an immediate audit into the transaction between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilization Ghana Ltd (SML), a contract which was entered into to enhance revenue assurance in the downstream petroleum sector, the upstream petroleum production and minerals and metals resources value chain.”

President Akufo-Addo has also tasked KPMG to complete its report in two weeks and “submit appropriate recommendations to him.”

The President has directed the Ministry of Finance and the GRA to suspend the performance of the contract, pending the submission of the audit report.

“The President has directed the Ministry of Finance and GRA to provide KPMG with whatever assistance they will require for conduct of the audit, and has also directed the Ministry of Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority to suspend the performance of the contract, pending the submission of the audit report, including any payments presently envisaged under its terms.”

SML, after an investigative piece put together by the Fourth Estate in December 2023, debunked claims of being awarded a 10-year contract duration, insisting that it has been given a 5-year contract instead.

SML further dispelled claims that it takes $100 million annually from its contract.

The Ghana Revenue Authority, in a statement issued on Wednesday, December 20, 2023, affirmed that its board and management followed the right processes in procuring the services of SML.

“The Contract is for five (5) years and is performance-based and approved under Section 40 of the Public Procurement Act, Act 663, 2003.”

This follows the Fourth Estate’s report, indicating that SML had been awarded a 10-year contract and that it takes $100 million annually from the contract.

The Fourth Estate also said its investigations have disproved wild claims by SML Company that it had helped save Ghana billions of cedis that would have been lost in the downstream petroleum sector but for its intervention.

The Finance Committee of Parliament on December 23, 2023, recommended a suspension of all payments under the government’s contract with SML from 2024, pending a probe into the contract by Parliament.

The committee said upon a review of the contract, it requires Parliamentary approval under the Financial Management Act, hence the need for the GRA to be notified about the statutory requirement.

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