The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has responded to recent allegations that its officials have been unfairly targeting business concerns belonging to Kennedy Agyapong, the Member of Parliament for Assin Central.
A statement from the GRA’s Communications and Public Affairs department said the claims by the lawmaker including that his companies were being subjected to unjustified audits are false.
“The purpose of such audits is to measure and improve compliance while fine-tuning controls. The factory in question together with other companies was thus audited to check the value of goods imported and their intended use.
“We wish to disclose that in January and February 2023, about thirty (30) of such risk-based activities were carried out on a number of businesses”, it said in a release.
The GRA stressed that with respect to issues around tax compliance, the MP’s company was one of many that had been visited by tax officials in line with global compliance and the GRA’s own best practices.
“GRA wishes to categorically refute the specific allegation of harassment at a factory under construction owned by the MP. We wish to clarify that as part of GRA’s mandate and in line with World Customs Organization’s (WCO’s) guidelines in ensuring adherence to best practices; such exercises are regularly conducted.”
What Kennedy Agyapong said:
He said during an interview on Sompa FM in Kumasi that: “Ghana Revenue Authority can never collapse my business because I will fight. I will fight for the youth because that steel plant alone will take 1000 workers.
“And you are going there because Kwame Agyapong is loudmouthed because he wants to contest so you will destroy my business,” he stressed.
He said earlier that the GRA wanted to put personnel at his cold chain stores to police how much fish he sells daily before warning: “Let me say this, I have gone past intimidation.
“They cannot use the system to intimidate me. It so ad I have to say this, I have opened businesses across the last five presidents, I never went through any of this harassment.”
Here is the full statement
ALLEGED HARASSMENT OF HON. KENNEDY AGYAPONGBY GRA
Management of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has sighted a recording of a media interview by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central constituency, Honourable Kennedy Agyapong circulating on social media in which he accused GRA Officials of constant harassment through unwarranted audits of his companies.
GRA wishes to categorically refute the specific allegation of harassment at a factory under construction owned by the MP. We wish to clarify that as part of GRA’s mandate and in line with World Customs Organization’s (WCO’s) guidelines in ensuring adherence to best practices; such exercises are regularly conducted.
The purpose of such audits is to measure and improve compliance whiles fine-tuning controls. The factory in question together with other companies was thus audited to check the value of goods imported and their intended use.
We wish to disclose that in January and February 2023, about thirty (30) of such risk-based activities were carried out on a number of businesses. Furthermore, in the area of enforcement and compliance, GRA carries out invoice invigilation exercises to ascertain Value Added Tax (VAT) paid by VAT-registered businesses.
These exercises entail stationing staff on the premises of VAT-registered businesses such as shops, restaurants, and manufacturing sites to check the issuance of VAT invoices.
In September 2022, invigilation exercises were intensified nationwide in order to enforce the issuance of VAT invoices and to encourage persons who buy goods and patronize services to demand VAT invoices. This exercise was very successful and GRA intends to scale up the invoice invigilation exercise from April 2023 as part of its revenue mobilization efforts.
In carrying out all these enforcement and compliance activities, the staff of GRA has been advised to remain professional and act at all times with integrity as required by the Authority’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.
We, therefore, encourage any member of the public who has evidence of any alleged corrupt practice by an official of the Authority to report such criminal acts to the Management of GRA on 0800-900-110 for redress.
The management wishes to use this opportunity to assure Honourable Kennedy Agyapong and all taxpayers of our readiness to receive complaints and feedback on our work as we partner to mobilize revenue for national development. We also wish to state that GRA remains committed to carrying out its mandate of revenue mobilization with integrity, fairness, and utmost professionalism.
FLORENCE ASANTE (MRS)
COMMUNICATION AND PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT