4-Mac Limited, the company that received nearly $4 million in tax exemption under the One District, One Factory programme for the construction of a hotel, cannot be found in the database of the Office of Registrar of Companies (ORC)
The result of a search The Fourth Estate conducted at the Office of the Registrar of Companies revealed that neither the name of 4-Mac nor Le Meridien, the hotel it is constructing, exists.
“We wish to state that a search conducted at our company registry did not show the trace of companies – Le Meridien Hotel and 4-Mac Limited,” a letter from the ORC dated August 9, 2023, said.
The finance ministry last year asked parliament to approve nearly GH₵6.4 million in tax waivers for 4-Mac Limited, which is constructing the hotel in the Airport Residential Area. The amount is to cover the company’s import bill and other import-related taxes. This pass, granted under the 1D1F tax waiver, allows the company to import all its construction materials tax-free.
On top of that, the ministry also wanted the company to be given clearance not to pay VAT on building materials it procures locally. That is not all: the ministry also asked for a five-year tax holiday for 4-Mac Limited.
However, Parliament varied the terms and reduced the amount from US$6,389,428 to US$3,919,628. The House’s Finance Committee recommended that the company be made to pay VAT when it procures items that are available in Ghana.
What is questionable about the exemption granted to 4-Mac is that the hotel was designated as a factory. Over the years, the government has created the impression that the 1D1F programme is only for the manufacturing sector.
The One District One Factory (1D1F) is the government’s ambitious industrialisation plan meant to set up factories in all 261 districts across the country.
To qualify for tax exemptions, a company needs to register with the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) and have an unblemished tax record with the GRA.
In March 2023, The Fourth Estate wrote to the ORC seeking background information relating to 4-Mac Limited, its directors, and shareholders.
However, per the records of the state institution tasked with keeping the records of all registered companies in Ghana, the company does not exist. The ORC suggested to The Fourth Estate to confirm from the directors if there has been a change of name.
“Also, if you have evidence of registration documents of the above-named companies, please do not hesitate to let us have it so we authenticate and update our records accordingly,” the ORC’s Head of Companies, Jones N. Ansah, said.
Parliament’s records show that the company fully complied with its obligations to the GRA. The Fourth Estate’s search at GRA confirmed that the company is registered with it as a taxpayer. A telephone number associated with the company’s GRA registration bears the name of one Bubu Gedzi who told The Fourth Estate that he had nothing to do with the company.
“I think you are making a mistake. I don’t know what you’re talking about. It could be a mistake,” he said when asked about his association with the company.
Although The Fourth Estate made efforts to reach out to 4-Mac Limited, it was futile as the company’s digital footprint is scanty and provided no contact details.
The company’s official website, email address, contact, and social media handles are not found online.
However, a website that published a directory on 4-Mac Company Limited said “4mac Limited is a Property Development Company with Head Office located in Cantonment, Cantonments, Greater Accra. We have 0 ongoing projects, 0 completed projects and 0 high-profile key contacts.”
Another website, estateintel.com, indicates that “4mac Limited is a Property Development Company with Head Office located in 4A Ojora Road, Ikoyi, Lagos. We have 2 ongoing projects, 0 completed projects, and 0 high profile key contacts.”
This website claims that the project is currently on hold.
Using a trading name?
While Parliament approved the tax exemption under the name of 4-Mac Limited, which is not currently listed in the ORC database, IMANI Africa’s Bright Simons pointed out that 4-Mac Limited could be a trading name.
“If 4-Mac is a trading name, then it wouldn’t appear in the register of companies. Only the ‘legal name of incorporation’ will be in the register of companies.”
However, an Economist and Political Risk Analyst, Dr. Theo Acheampong, explained that companies ought to request and be granted tax waivers with their actual names and not their trading names.
“It is not possible; it is not possible to use a trading name to get an exemption because it has to be your actual registered name.”
He indicated that in instances where a trading name is allowed to pass for such official documentation, both the trading and actual names should be clarified